Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ZOMBIES NOT INCLUDED (28 Days Later doesn't count)
The Gift (2015)
Not the stalker movie you thought it was
I was sure wrong about The Gift. Trailers and advertisements have marketed the film as one of those generic psychological thrillers that may be heavy on plot and dull on characters but this is not what The Gift was. In fact, the characters Simon (Jason Bateman), Robyn (Rebecca Hall) and Gordo (Joel Edgerton) are so well crafted from the script, they will still sit in your head hours after watching actor turned director Joel Edgerton's successful debut.
In The Gift, the story is about a man named Simon and his wife Robyn move into a new California home from Chicago and encounter a man named Gordon "Gordo" Mosley from Simon's High School past. Gordo begins to force a friendship on the couple by giving gifts but Simon doesn't want this man in his life because of Gordo's awkwardness and past as a "weirdo" in school. The Gift is essentially about the past. The actions one person did in the past and whether or not one should move on and forget about it. A line is spoken in the film, "Let bygones be bygones". This line or saying that puts itself as the theme of the film. I thought the character of Gordo was excellently played by Joel Edgerton, the director and writer of the film. He turned what could have been a generic stalker-villain caricature and made him a real human being the audience can empathize with. Having said that, the main character Simon can be viewed as a villain himself.
Of all the movies that released in late July and August 2015, I recommend checking out the Gift. It's a film that cares about a story it wants to tell and characters it feels to explore. No explosions. No spectacle. Just great storytelling.
A boring, pointless experience
I can handle slow films. But even if a film is slow, it's got to have something interesting to keep you engaged. Echoes barely had any of it. There was nothing surprising about the story. A ghostly spirit takes a golden opportunity of using a woman's sleep paralysis problem to hijack her body to well, get revenge on her husband who killed her. That's really it. It does get suspenseful during the first half but by the time the film is going to be over, it's just exposition after exposition. Again, Echoes offered nothing new and spectacular to horror. However, on the bright side, I was quite impressed with the quality of the cinematography and the movie was filmed at some beautiful locations in the California desert. The acting was fairly decent and a minimal cast is always great too.
Don't listen to the Nostalgic fans, this was a decent remake
Alright. No one wanted a remake of the 1987 original, but you know what? It happened and it wasn't a total disaster. In my opinion, it made some improvement over the original. Gory , R-Rating? Non- existent in the 2014 remake. The Verhoeven signature violence isn't what always makes a good movie.
I liked the 1987 Robocop. But after watching it a couple of times. It's really just an action movie with little bits of political/social satire as well as some character development of Alex Murphy. In the 2014 remake, the screenwriter clearly wanted to explore the idea of putting a man in a machine. If you paid attention to the dialogue between the scientists and executives of OmniCorp, they were talking about some important stuff about human consciousness and the difference between a human and a robot. There's also satire in the movie as well. We get a few scenes of Samuel L. Jackson playing the host of a talk show called The Novak Element which seems to have a Pro-Robot bias, favoring the OmniCorp CEO than the anti-machine politicians. The political satire vexed into the script made me think about now. How Americans are against the use of drones and surveillance technology in our home but are okay when used abroad to look for terrorist. It does raise questions on using advanced technology to stop crime. The remake definitely made Robocop a little more relevant today.
Robocop 2014 is not a perfect film though. There are a couple of downsides. I felt that there were not a lot of scenes of the bad guy that almost killed Murphy. We don't know too much about him but he was part of a conspiracy. I also thought they should have developed the character of Alex Murphy a little more.
So let me get this straight. We don't want remakes of old films that were considered good. But hey, this one did it's best. Robocop 2014 is much better than the Total Recall 2012 remake.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Good, but not great
Guardians of the Galaxy must have been a very hyped Marvel Superhero movie of 2014. At first, it was questioned that a movie depicting a band of lesser known superheroes would ever make financial success on the big screen. When it was released on August 1st, throughout a few months, it was successfully huge. This was worth noting that audiences do have an appetite for something a little unusual.
When I watched Guardians of the Galaxy from beginning to end, I wasn't entirely amused. It was enjoyable no doubt. But it had a lot of flaws in my opinion. I really hope the sequel in 2017 will bring some improvement because this sub-franchise of Marvel has a lot of potential.
I'll start with the bad parts first. The plot is overall weak and too simple. The villain, Ronan wants an orb that has power and the heroes have to make sure he doesn't get it. I mean this movie is obviously based on a comic book and is supposed to be more light- hearted and less serious, but it really felt like a Saturday morning cartoon episode that is expanded to a full-blown blockbuster. Another downside of GoTG is that pop culture references = comedy/Humor. I don't get what's funny when a song from the 70's/80's is being played every 30 minutes throughout the movie. In fact, I'm already sick of the 1980's nostalgia that is prevalent throughout not just this movie, but other ones. It's becoming too cliché in this decade now. We get it. The 80's was cool for people that were kids at the time. We don't need this kind of pandering throughout every fun film. Guardians of the Galaxy also should have focused on less action and more character development. I really wanted to know more about Rocket Raccoon (which was my favorite) and more dynamic backstory on Gamora.
Now the good parts of GoTG was the chemistry between the characters. Chris Pratt plays Starlord well and may become a Sci-Fi icon in the future. The world-building is also great. The GoTG franchise can really stand against Star Wars if it wants to.
Guardians of the Galaxy is really a film that didn't not live up the hype, but it wasn't terrible or fairly decent either. It was good, but not great.
Django Unchained (2012)
Tarantino Awesomeness in Historical Fantasy
There's a reason why I'm attracted to the works of Quentin Tarantino. You can recognize the personalty in every movie he makes. Django Unchained is one of them. As an enthusiast in American history, I have an appetite for this kind of film. I knew this was gonna be historically inaccurate from the jump, but when was the last time you've seen a movie like his?
Django Unchained is set in 1858, two years before the American Civil War. A German bounty hunter Dr.King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) frees a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) from Texan slave traders. They work together as bounty hunters to hunt bad guys in exchange for Django's freedom and eventually finding his enslaved wife. Through- out their journey in the Deep South, they come across Mississippian Plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) who owns Candyland. Right here is one of my favorite performances by DiCaprio. Candie also has a second-in command. House Slave Stephen whom is played by Samuel L. Jackson.
Throughout the movie, you get a lot of the typical Tarantino stuff. Great dialogue, music pieces, high-octane bloody random violence, etc. Speaking of the violence, there's a quite a few unique gun battles you won't usually see in other movies. It's highly rewarding and entertaining once you experience them.
My one problem with the Tarantino's latest movie was it's racist undertones. The main character Django says a line "Kill white people and they give you a reward, what's not to like?". First, he said that right next to a White German that showed him kindness and gave him freedom. Second, why would a movie portray such a subtle message like that? As one-dimensional as the movie was, it's really putting an Us vs. Them mentality on the whole race thing. However, this can sort of he made up when the movie has a "White good guy" (Dr.Schultz) and a "black bad guy" (Stephen). So it isn't trying to portray all people of a race as bad or good.
Django Unchained is like any other QT flick with the exception of that this one tells the story with a a more linear plot. It's a lot of great fun and has a lot of personality as said before.
Total Recall (2012)
Absolute disgrace, Highly boring
It's hard to judge if this is really a remake of the 1990 original or that it's just a 2nd adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story, "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale". Either way, Total Recall 2012 is terrible.
This film tries to update a lot from the 1990 version. Up to date special effects, new actors and a change in setting. Sounds good right? Nope. As cheesy as the original was, it was far more entertaining than this version. Not only that, the original tells the plot better than the remake. Everything was coherent in the old movie than this. The remake told the story in confusingly. I felt like turning off the movie after being clueless. The action wasn't good enough to keep me entertained because it was generic and not engaging. And as much as I like actor Colin Farrel, he isn't great as Douglas Quaid/Carl Houser.
The remake also changes the Mars setting to a post-apocalyptic Earth where a nation called the United Federation of Britain exists but exploits The Colony which is present on the Australian continent. The two nations are connected by an underground transportation system called the Fall which can transport human across the planet underground in 30 minutes. This is all an interesting change but I personally preferred Mars over this.
Totall Recall 2012 is a failure of a remake and is an example of why remakes of good movies are undesirable.
World War Z (2013)
What kind of zombie movie is this?
Oh boy. About time Hollywood made a big-budget zombie blockbuster. It's a genre that has been succumbed by the crappiness of low-budget horror. Unfortunately for the former, Hollywood failed bring uplift the Zombie genre. Instead, Plan B Entertainment has given us a cliché-ridden, CGI heavy zombie blockbuster that had nothing to do with the source material except for the title and the fact that the protagonist is a UN employee.
It took a while for World War Z to get finished. Re-writes, re- shoots. I thought all those delays was just the work of a masterpiece in the making. I thought wrong. Over 200 million dollars have been wasted on this. The movie is just like any other summer CGI blockbuster. Except that there's CGI zombies this time. Not only that, the zombies act like a swarm of bugs when they are bunched up on each other. The protagonist Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) isn't interesting and all the bloody zombie violence you would expect is dumbed-down for a PG-13 rating to cater to younger audiences.
There is one good thing though that World War Z brought that is worth noting. It is one of the few movies to watch a zombie epidemic happen on a global scale. It's a globe-trotting movie like any other but it is quite interesting.
World War Z has the potential to be one of the greatest zombbie movies of all time. The source material was perfect for a movie, or a TV show at the most. But Hollywood screwed it up and we got a generic blockbuster instead.
Great Sci-Fi action, but could have been better
After the greatness of District 9, I was anticipated for the next project by Writer/Director Neill Blomkamp. Years later came Elysium and was somewhat amazed and disappointed at the same time. The movie is set in the year 2154 where Earth is overpopulated and all the wealthy elite have fled to a space station called Elysium. It's essentially a ring-world that harbors a natural habitat filled with grassy fields, reservoirs and beautiful mansions. Unfortunately for the folks down on Earth, Elysium is hard to get to let alone live there unless you were born in a rich family. The story focuses on former criminal Max DaCosta (Matt Damon) whom is destined to make it to Elysium one day. After getting in a radiation accident at work, he is forced to undergo surgery by a ragtag group of thugs that give him an exo-suit to wear. The plot eventually follows a data heist which will get them to Elysium.
The best parts of Elysium has been the cinematography, special effects and the action. The not so best parts is the writing of the story. There's not a lot of character development, the plot is too quick and thin, and some of the acting by Actress Jodi Foster isn't too good. My real problem with the movie is it's heavy-handed political message that's it's trying to force audiences to submit to. Elysium wants to be relevant. It wants to explore immigration and healthcare issues that America is facing currently. The execution of the socio-political commentary is done so poorly. It's explained through stereotypes. There's a good guy/bad guy. No gray areas. Throw in some action and you get the message by the end of the film. It failed to explore those issues in a complex manner. Another poor execution in Elysium was it's worldbuilding. It's set in the year 2154 yet feels very much like 2013-2014 with a few technological advancements. We see highly advanced guns, robots and some vehicles. Not to mention, Elysium itself but that is really it. Everything else felt too contemporary from the clothing of the characters to the overall atmosphere and the setting.
In the end, Elysium is a a Science Fiction film that really could have been better. it had so much potential. The final product isn't bad, it just didn't meet up with Blomkamp's first feature, District 9.
Pseudo-scientific nonsense, A waste of time
This is a huge disappointment for a Luc Besson film. The director of The Fifth Element and Taken. Lucy is a movie with a really dumb premise that has already been de-bunked. What if you can use 100% of your brain? Even if we only used 10% and somehow achieve maximum usage, we would very likely not be doing what is depicted in this movie. The main character is an American student named Lucy (Scarlett Johansson)living in Taiwan who manages to get herself in a drug trafficking operation as a drug mule. The drug that is put in her is experimental. After the drug package breaks inside her body after a physical incident with a trafficking henchman, the drug gives her the ability to do anything you could imagine by the time she achieves 100% usage in their brain. That's pretty much it. Morgan Freeman co-stars as a Scientist who is basically in the movie to explain the whole "100% of the brain theory" like a Science Channel program. I'm not even kidding about this. This goes alongside an action-adventure as Lucy finds out what is going on with her as the Korean gang that made her a mule tracks her down. The movie itself is short with a gimmicky, stupid premise put in with some action and even sprinkles of philosophical dialogue about humanity that's also present. LUCY may not be as bad as a DVD rental but I wouldn't waste time buying it.
Absolute Best Sci-fi Action flick in recent years
Although I know little of the 2000 AD comics of which Dredd is based on, I do know that the 1995 version was poorly made. Sometimes movies do deserve a remake. Judge Dredd needed one badly and in 2012, we got it.
This movie does not waste time at all. Every scene is important and cuts right to the chase, no pun intended (the opening scene is a vehicle chase). The character, Judge Dredd is a somewhat emotionless, stone-cold cop that acts as a walking Jury, executioner and JUDGE in the Halls of Justice. A police department that operates in the new world of Post-Apocalyptic America. Specifically, this area is Mega City One, a sprawling metropolis that goes from Washington DC to Boston. Crime and gang warfare is at an all time high and it's up to the judges to send them to the iso-cubes or put them in bodybags.
The violence in this movie is comic-booky very Tarantino-like book.. There are also a few scenes in colorful slow-motion which works successfully as part of the plot that involves a time-altering drug called Slo-Mo.
Karl Urban who plays Dredd is excellent in it. You can't expect too much from the character but he makes Dredd like a complete badass. Olivia Thirlby is also great as Anderson, a rookie Judge that works with Dredd through-out the movie. My favorite performance in the movie would be Ma-Ma whom is played by Lena Headey. You don't get a lot of brutally sadistic female villains these days and trust me, she's pretty terrifying here.
Dredd is the perfect movie to kill time with if you want to watch an enjoyable action film. It's highly re-watchable as well.