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Totally gratuitous sex, plot-twists, and soap opera-like drama
"Ascension" is a very strange miniseries. It has a great idea but, the writers are either horrible at their jobs, or SyFy asked them to add as much sexuality as possible, no matter how little it makes sense to the plot.
The basic story is about a huge spaceship that was launched in the 1960s. The mission was to arrive at an earth-like planet and settle it so that the human race can live on, in the chance that something happens to Earth. At the time, the USA was in the middle of a cold war with Russia and so, President Kennedy decided to fund the mission over the fear of nuclear war.
When the story begins, it is 51 years into the mission and the society that lives on the ship is shocked and saddened by the murder of a young woman, which is the first murder to ever take place there. What starts off as an investigation into her death, turns into a long, annoying soap opera. There is a subplot about one of the men on the ship wanting to take over as captain, who is basically the leader of these people. The captain's wife is sleeping with the other guy, and the captain is sleeping with one of the young woman who lives on the ship. The amount of sex scenes, although they're very short and don't show much, are completely unnecessary and do nothing to drive the plot forward at all. In fact, if they completely got rid of that substory, the rest of the miniseries wouldn't suffer, in fact, it would benefit greatly. Something else about the women on the show is that almost all of them are blonde. I don't have problem with that but, it makes it a little confusing when they all look so much alike. It's also very hard to like these people when they're all sleeping with each other and lying all the time. There is also a young woman named Nora who is the daughter of the ship's main doctor. She has at least 4 different conversations with other people about how she should "have fun" before her husband is chosen for her and so she ends up dating two guys and creating a completely unnecessary love triangle. I can't imagine how anyone who would watch a SyFy miniseries would be interested in these ridiculous subplots that belong on a CW TV show like Gossip Girl.
There is also a character on the show named Christa who is a young girl who was friends with Lorelai, the murder victim, and was the one who found her body. Her character is shown early on to have some type of ESP, and psychic powers which eventually also leads to her having telekinetic abilities. Adding that to the show is both totally stupid but, also completely necessary since many parts of the story couldn't happen without her. The main plot of the show is very interesting so, it's unfortunate that we have to rely on such an unrealistic character to drive that plot further. I realize that the entire thing is unrealistic but, why have a character with special powers? Also, the girl couldn't be more annoying. She goes from being very serious, stoic, and almost menacing to suddenly becoming hysterically scared, crying and screaming. There isn't a single scene where she acts like a normal little girl with normal emotions.
I don't want to give away the ending but, it completely leaves it open for a sequel. On one hand, I would love to see what the hell happens next, especially after watching the very last scene (it was very good) but, there's no way that I could sit through any more of the drama taking place with the captain, his wife, his mistress, the doctor, her daughter, Christa's inability to act like a normal person, or the people back on earth who are also a bunch of selfish liars. I guess I'll have to record it and then just forward through all of the unnecessary garbage that the writers will add to the rest of the story. In conclusion, if the summary of what "Ascension" is about sounds appealing to you then, you're wrong. You will not like this. I can't imagine anyone who would. I feel like science fiction fans will be irritated with the soap opera subplots while, anyone who interested in those types of stories will be irritated by the over-the-top science fiction used that doesn't even get any type of rational explanation at all. Just stay away from this terrible miniseries if you value your sanity at all.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
Such a great movie.
This movie is absolutely wonderful. It really reminds me of "Guardians of the Galaxy" which is probably the best movie of 2014. I just love how it so effortlessly mixed heartwarming emotion, with thrilling action, and laugh-out-loud comedy.
For a quick synopsis, the movie is about a young boy named Hiro who is gifted in robotics and has an older brother named Hadashi who he looks up to very much and for good reason. Hadashi is also a brilliant scientist who has built a remarkable robot named Baymax who has the ability to scan people and give them medical treatment and advice. There is also a group of Hadashi's friends, the funniest being Fred, and there's also a villain whose motives and identity are not revealed until the climax of the film. After a tragic accident occurs and after learning that it was a planned attack, Hiro, Baymax, and their new group of friends end up creating a rag-tag group of superheroes which they name "Big Hero 6". The only reason why I gave the movie an 8 instead of a 10 is because of the villain. I just feel like some of his actions and his overall attitude are a bit over-the-top evil and his motivations aren't successfully explained. With that said, this movie is truly for everyone and it has something that I think many animated movies have been missing lately which is a very good plot, and endearing characters that you learn to care about deeply. I also love how they didn't make Baymax too human-like. I really hate when movies do that with AI characters, I think it's a cop-out because the audience will obviously care for a machine if it acts and looks exactly like a human. I also hate how they overuse the whole "questioning of love" cliché with those characters. In this film, Baymax understands that love and friendship are important to people because those things are important to a "patient's" emotional well-being. Although he is a believable robot, you can still get attached to him just like Hiro does because he is such an adorable, lovable, sweet-matured character and it doesn't hurt that he looks like a big marshmallow.
Although the film introduces awesome new superhero characters and has some amazing action/battle scenes, what it truly succeeds in doing is being a thoroughly entertaining movie that tugs at the heartstrings, and makes you root for these great characters. I left the movie in awe of how it so effortlessly entranced me and brought me into it's unique world. I can't imagine anyone watching this movie and not loving it so, if you're reading this review to see whether you should watch it or not, definitely do, you won't regret it.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
I want to start this review by mentioning that I am a huge Batman fan, and of the first two films in the christopher nolan "dark knight" trilogy. "Batman Begins", and "The Dark Knight" films were dramatic, exciting, thrilling, and enormously entertaining. The films were what Batman fans have been waiting for since the beginning of the character over 60 years ago. It completely left out the campy, and colorful nature that the previous films, and TV shows had and gave these films a gritty realness that elevated the whole Batman idea to something that could be taken seriously.
As much as I applaud the writing, acting, and directing of the first two films, they are not without their faults. But, when I watched the third installment to the trilogy two years ago, and again recently, I was completely taken aback and shocked by what a horrible, and boring movie it was. There are huge stretches to the movie that dragged on while literally nothing happened. While the first two movies had incredible villains, this one had a big, buff moron who wasn't scary and you could barely understand anything he was saying. It reminds me of all the times his voice was mocked and for good reason. He sounds ridiculous. Then, you have catwoman who comes off as just a petty thief who shouldn't be stealing things that belonged to Bruce Wayne's mother. She is ultimately only concerned with getting a "clean slate" so that she can start her life over. Doesn't that sound menacing? Yeah, it doesn't. I hated her from her first scene and to think that we were supposed to like her is laughable.
On top of that it seemed as though every person in the film knew that Bruce Wayne was batman, comissioner Gordon had it figured out, which is fine but, so did a young rookie cop (whose first name is Robin for no reason), catwoman totally knew, Bane knew, and so did Talia. I guess we're supposed to have no problem with anyone knowing since we know but, we're the audience. We're supposed to know, we've had two movies let us know about it but, these characters haven't. They shouldn't know, and we shouldn't be okay with them knowing.
On top of all of that, while the first two films showed us how much Batman cared for Gotham, and the residents living there, it also showed us his incredible sense of honor and morality. This movie seemed to throw that all by the wayside to show him as someone who didn't care for the city, and all of his hardwork was for nothing. They showed a city that had barely two people who gave a crap about anything, and a man who hard given up on everything for years because Alfred couldn't give him a letter. It seemed to diminish Batman and Bruce Wayne down to an ordinary man, which he isn't. He's a superhero for crying out loud.
This movie was boring for having barely any action, terrible dialogue, a surprising twist that wasn't surprising because I can't imagine anyone caring enough about it to be surprised by it. I can't imagine anyone caring enough about the villains to want to see them killed, or for the people of Gotham to be saved, or for Catwoman enough to see her walk away with our so-called hero. The ending also made no sense and while I may have slightly spoiled some parts of the film, I won't give that away completely. This review is not here to keep anyone from seeing this, in fact, I think everyone should so that they can see how horrible it is. This is mainly here for me, so that I can get out some of the anger and disappointment that this stupid movie left me with. I know that this movie got a ridiculously high 8 rating and I may be in a small group of people who hated it but, I can't understand why, and I hope more people can start to admit that this movie sucks.
Still Alice (2014)
A simple yet, almost perfect film. (spoilers)
I just finished watching this great film and I must say that it was remarkable. It is what I would consider to be a simple film. There aren't too many characters and there are no subplots, which I was very happy about. It seems like with a lot of recent family movies that feature an ensemble cast, they always seem to get bogged down with subplots featuring all of the extra characters and it's really annoying.
This film is about a woman named Alice played by the great Julianne Moore who has spent most of her life building a successful career as a linguist professor at Columbia while also maintaining a loving marriage and raising three children. The main child that we get to know is Lydia, played very well by Kristen Stewart. She is the youngest child who has moved across the country to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career as an actress. I honestly thought that we would follow her a little more, showing her in L.A. with her roommates and possibly a romantic interest, and I can't even begin to say how thrilled I am that that didn't happen. Again, so many other movies do that nowadays and it never ends well.
Anyways, the movie very gently and respectfully shows us what it's like for a person to not only receive the devastating news that they have early onset Alzheimers but, also someone who spent her whole life studying words and communication. It shows her first symptoms, her initial diagnosis and then unflinchingly, we see her eventual decline. I wrote "spoilers" in the title of this review because I wanted to mention a part of the movie where Alice tells her husband that she would rather have cancer because then she would not feel like she might embarrass herself, or that she would no longer even be herself anymore. the husband tells her not to feel that way but, can we really blame her? We would probably feel the same way as she does even though we all know that cancer is horrible.
I don't think anyone can really know what it's like to go through this but, after watching this film, I feel like I understand it very well and that's a testament to the makers of it. Again, I'm very happy that we got to see this film made in such a simple way, without any over the top drama, or gratuitous conflicts thrown in. I must mention though that the reason why I gave this film an 8 instead of a 10 is because I also would've loved to see Alice's son a little more, and his relationship with his mother. I also think that it should've explored more of what Alice wanted done when she reached a point of no longer being able to take care of herself. Not too give anything away but, we do see that she doesn't want to be a burden to anyone or to end up in a nursing facility. The movie could have done more with that.
I have to say that although Julianne Moore did a fantastic job, I was really blown away by Kristen Stewart's performance. I can't think of any other actress breathing more life into that role than she did. Lydia was also just a fantastic character. The way she reacts to her mother's illness is so heartbreaking but, also so strong. There's a scene in particular when the children are first told about the diagnosis and while the other two children are confused and shocked, Lydia doesn't seem too surprised by it as she had noticed her mother's slipping memory. She very boldly handles her mother's affliction in a way that I think we should all aspire to, if ever been put in such a terrible position. There's an amazing scene where Lydia apologizes to her mother about an argument they had had the day before. Alice doesn't even remember it and I think that showed how everyone should be more forgiving to our loved ones, not just because they might be suffering with something but, also because it's just a good idea to forgive our parents. They won't be around forever and so it's sad to carry around grudges towards them.
The movie is a must see for anyone, and I highly recommend it.
Addams Family Values (1993)
I love this movie. I've been watching it since I was a kid but, it really has something for every age group. I find this movie to be much better then the first Addams Family movie so, if you weren't a fan of that one, don't worry about it.
This movie is just so funny and has so much to love. From Debbis, fester's new wife, (and one of the funniest movie characters I've seen) to the summer camp that Pugsly and Wednesday have to attend, and the thanksgiving show that they are forced to participate in, this movie is just full of laughs from start to finish. I also want to mention Raul Julia's performance as Gomez. In order for comedy to be effective, the actors have to take their performance as seriously as possible, and Raul really gave his all to this role. It really elevates the movie to a really high level. Just watch the scene where he's in the police station yelling at Nathan Lane, and try not to crack up, it's just amazing.
Too many questions and not enough answers.
For anyone who hasn't watched this show but, enjoys watching things that have a slight fantasy/sci-fi twist to them, you probably won't like this. Of course there are parts to the story that don't have answers yet because, even the main character doesn't have answers to them such as, why he can't die, and why he always comes back in water.
Aside from the fantasy aspects of the show, there are many questions that are given no answers at all. Such as, in the first episode, we see the main character die, come back in water, walk through the streets naked, get arrested, and then picked up from the police station by a friend. Now, this guy also works with the police as a medical examiner. Would that be allowed with his criminal record? He's obviously been arrested many times, and in real life, that would keep you from working with the police. Also, since he always comes back in the same place, and always naked, why doesn't he keep clothes around the area, or at least wait until there aren't any people around to get home. He could also keep a cellphone around in order to call someone. Not only do these questions not get answered but, they aren't even addressed at all. I guess we're just supposed to accept that he gets arrested a lot and just move on.
Another part of the show that doesn't make sense is how much he works with Detective Martinez. Now, he is a medical examiner with years of experience working as a doctor. He doesn't just tell her how the murder victims died and other information about them, and their killer but, he comes along with her while talking to witnesses, going through evidence, and even while arresting suspects. Medical Examiners don't do any of those things and it makes no sense at all that he would be with her so much. He is not a detective but, he totally acts like one throughout every episode. He doesn't even have a badge or a gun which he should since he's already been killed several times during his investigations. Luckily, no one has been around to see his body disappear each of those times.
You can tell that the makers of the show are fans of Sherlock Holmes are trying to create a show with a character who is super smart and is able to "deduce" the answers to criminal investigations just like Sherlock but, it's clumsy and they expect the audience to just accept that the main character has knowledge about every single thing in the world from watches, to digital cameras, to obscure painters from brazil, and so on.
The show isn't bad and I can see why people would enjoy it but, all of the questions that pop up throughout the show are just too hard to ignore. We're expected to just accept the fact that this guy is basically a detective, even though he isn't, and that his criminal record has never been an issue. That's ridiculous and I don't see this show lasting very long with such huge plot holes present in just the first season.
Down to Earth (2001)
Not funny, and really weird
This movie is really awful. I first saw it in a theater when it was originally released during the big Chris Rock craze that was going on at the time. I was a big fan of his comedy and liked him a lot.
I was very disappointed by this movie and wanted to walk out several times. It's bad for many reasons but, the main one is that it's just not funny. This movie is supposed to be a comedy but, there are very few jokes, even in the scenes that contain stand-up. The makers of the movie also missed a lot of opportunities to add funny scenes. Throughout the majority of the film, Chris Rock's character is dead and his soul is inside the body of an older, white guy. Throughout these scenes, we see Chris Rock, and not the white guy which is fine but, we should see the white guy a lot more, especially since that's how everyone else sees him. We only see the way he looks physically a few times and only for a couple seconds each time. There is one scene where the main character is listening to a rap song and starts singing along to it. We see the white guy for a second and it's funny since you wouldn't expect to see someone like that singing along to rap, right? But, we see him so quickly that, the joke isn't even given a chance to exist. The makers of the movie seem way too concerned with having Chris Rock on screen as much as possible.
Then there's the ending. I don't want to give away too many details for those who haven't watched the movie but, it's one of the weirdest and flat-out disturbing endings to a movie that I've ever seen. I think viewers are supposed to be satisfied with it but, I don't see how that's possible.
I really don't understand how anyone can watch this movie and enjoy it. For anyone who is planning on watching it, please don't. Unless you're one of those people who enjoys watching bad movies in order to make fun of them. In which case, you'll definitely enjoy this one and you'll have plenty to make of fun of here.