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Terminator Salvation (2009)
Terminator Salvation is a movie with a lot of potential. The story is sufficiently solid, the cast is good, and the special effects are mostly impressive, especially in scenes that mix modern day technology with Skynet technology.
However, there are parts of the movie that fail to live up to their full potential. Character development is lacking in places and various scenes are lacking sufficient dramatic effect. By dramatic effect, I'm talking about the kind of tension and feeling you get from, as an example, the scene in the preview where Conner unhooks the chain from around the other guys head. If you have seen this scene in the preview, or in the movie itself, this is what I am talking about. You could feel the tension, and it seemed almost real. Unfortunately, this is missing from many other scenes in the movie, and this shortfall is what keeps the movie from being truly exceptional.
Despite it's shortfalls, if you are a fan of the Terminator series, or just a fan of action and/or sci-fi in general, you will probably find this movie to be reasonably entertaining and worth watching at least once.
August Rush (2007)
Music is the Movie
While this movie is not a musical, it could be said that music is the movie. It's not a story about a boy searching for his parents. It's a story about how music can fill our souls, express our emotions, and journey with us through life. The music in the movie is excellent, and it's the only movie of it's kind, at least as far as I know.
I know this movie won't be for everyone. But for some of us such as myself -- who love music and emotion; who believe that music can tell a story, even if a fanciful one -- I believe it is a flawless execution. A movie meant to be heard more than seen.
"The music is all around us. All you have to do, is listen."
A Monumental Achievement By It's Creators
Captain Pirk and his crew is sent into Earth's past to save it from some alien threat. But Pirk, driven by his desire for fame and power, seeks to shape the future himself using his knowledge and technology of the future. In time, he finds himself the leader of a new society in command of a fleet of star ships. But when a portal to another galaxy opens, his quest to further expand his empire drives him and his fleet through the portal and into an epic confrontation with another society that awaits on the other side.
This film is a Science Fiction parody that borrows many elements from Star Trek and Babylon 5. It is full of action and humor, and has a surprisingly large amount of CGI of reasonably high quality. Most impressive is that this film was produced with zero budget, driven only by the love and passion of it's creators. Taking this into consideration, it is arguably the most impressive film ever produced.
Enjoyable Action Film
First the bad. Yes, there were some cheesy parts to this film. A number of things happened that were either cheesy or stupid or unbelievable. The character development was weak, relying on coolness and bikini shots instead of genuine heart and good dialogue.
Now the good. Some people will say this film has bad effects. This is simply untrue. The effects and action scenes are what make this a good film overall. The flight scenes and planes look excellent. Also, Jamie Foxx, who I initially thought was a terrible pick for such a role, actually did okay. And Sam Shepard was as good as he always is.
If you are looking for a heart felt action drama, you might want to skip this film. Stealth is a straight special effects action film, and it does a decent job in that respect. 7/10.
An Outsider's Viewpoint
When a film has a fan base or is based on a book, it is difficult to find reviews by people who are not part of that fan base and/or have not read the book. I am neither a fan of Harry Potter nor do I read the books, so some of you may find my review of interest in that respect. I am not going to summarize the plot; many other reviews already do that nicely. Instead, given that I have seen every Harry Potter film so far for one reason or another, I will focus on giving my basic opinions on the film and also comparing it to the previous films.
This film seemed a bit darker than previous films. Almost every scene had an ominous weight to it. Yet in other places, like in the introduction of the all female troop, it felt downright silly, like Charlie and the Chocolate factory with the dancing midgets. Moreso than previous films, it had that kind of awkward clash in that it seems like a children's story attempting to be an adult story -- or vice versa -- I can't really figure it out. I think that would be my biggest reason for not being a Harry Potter fan. If they were to replace all the child wizards and adolescent behavior with adult wizards and behavior, I would probably like it a lot more.
Many of the scenes seemed rushed. The film sometimes jumped too quickly from one scene to another. And there were characters who seemed out of place, like the seeker champion who was built up as if he was a main character, yet never seemed to fill that role. This is a difficult issue to address in such films that are based off of books, so you could say it is to be expected. However, the problem seemed a lot worse in the this film than in previous films.
I got a little bored around the middle of the film and wasn't entirely satisfied when it ended. However, I was also feeling a bit tired at the time, so that probably didn't help. I thought the visuals in the film were very well done. Most of the sets felt real and created the ambiance that I think was both good and as intended. Overall, despite the drawbacks, I think it was a fairly decent film. However, I still don't understand the mass appeal of Harry Potter.
What you would expect from The Rock
This film, based off of the game Doom, is about what you would expect from an action film starring The Rock. And better than you would expect from yet another game-into-film creation. It is a decent action film where you leave the theater reasonably satisfied.
I thought the trailer made the movie look hokey -- the first person shooter scene looked bad, the guns talking seemed excessive and silly, and the jokes were bad. However, these same scenes fit in relatively nicely when you see the film in whole, and don't stick out like sore thumbs anymore.
The story in the film strays some from the story used in the game, as many have said. However, the story was reasonably coherent and helped add a little more plot to a game that has almost none.
Overall, not a bad film, but not something you will probably watch more than once.
A Sleeper of Sorts
I had never heard of Firefly before just a couple of months ago, and was skeptical. I'm not a big fan of Whedon's other works. However, I do like Sci Fi, and was able to borrow the first season of Firefly on DVD to watch before the film. I was shocked at how good it was. The plot, and especially the characters, really make the show fly. Serenity is just as good, if not better. I absolutely loved this film.
I think this film, much like the original series, is a hard sell. It's hard to see what's great about it until you get involved. It may not do so well initially at the box office, but I think it will see a lot of love for it over time, making it one of the bigger "sleepers" out there, much like Shawshank Redemption.