Fast & Furious 6 Review

30 05 2013

 

I had to laugh when the logo for Original Films came on before this movie. If the fifth sequel to an actually-original movie is put out by them, what does Unoriginal Films produce? Romantic comedy spinoffs? Anyway, I had only previously seen Fast & Furious 5 before this, but rest assured I was filled in with all the relevant plot points (I think there were two). Due to my handicap, I’m throwing out a abbreviated review. A “fast” review, if you will (har-har!)

 

fast-furious-6-poster

1. What does it take to assemble the daring Fast and Furious team together again for another movie? Besides studio execs wanting another cash cow sequel? Well, basically The Rock (called Hobbs in the series, but hey guys, he’s The Rock) needs Dom and Brian’s crew to take down a mustachioed villain (aw yeah!) in London. The villain Shaw also has a rival driving team, who are basically evil versions of Dom’s team (this is humorously explained by Roman and Tej).

 

2. Yeah, the cars are all awesome and this is definitely a man movie.  Next.

 

3. The action is awesomely fun but is hilariously overblown. I realized it was time to put my brain on the shelf the third time someone jumped out of their car and flew 40 feet in the air like some sort of flying squirrel on crack. But hey, the trailer showed a car shooting out of the nose of a moving, exploding plane, so it’s not like they falsely advertised. Speaking of the plane sequence, I’m pretty sure that runway was roughly the length of Texas.

 

tank scene

Pictured: Not physics

 

4. I’ve never been a fan of random “celebrity” appearances in a movie (it’s a movie, aren’t they all celebrities?). Turns one awkwardly random character was Rita Ora (apparently a British singer who is not Adele). Dunno why this stuck out so much to me, but it was probably her character’s only scene as a race starter girl where she awkwardly delivers a block of monologue that ended with the gem, “This is London, baby.” Then they start the race and we’re left wondering what just happened.

 

5. All in all, the movie pulls into first (zing!) with the believable relationships between the crew members. Mia and Han (tear drop), Roman and Tej, and Dom and Brian are all effective duos that sell the whole “family” aspect of the team. Dwayne Johnson has also fit in nicely, even if he doesn’t have an epic fist fight with Vin Diesel this time around.

 

Also good to see Haywire's real-life MMA fighter Gina Carano

Also former MMA fighter (now actress) Gina Carano would completely destroy me in a fight.

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Star Trek: Into Darkness Review

21 05 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness Banner 3D

Well, the signature lens flares are back for more space adventures- so beam us up Scotty, because this time we have an actual memorable villain! That’s right, this time Kirk and Friends are facing off against (MILD SPOILER) super-human classic villain Sherlock Holmes , er Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). Cumberbatch perfectly portrayed someone who was a rogue but a leader, an almost likeable character, if he wasn’t power-hungry weapon of destruction.

 

Khan Cumberbatch

KHHHHAAAAAAAANNN!!

 

On the other side of the spectrum we have Carol (Alice Eve). I’ll be honest, I couldn’t take her seriously. When a character gets a completely (and painfully) random underwear shot about five minutes into her screen time, my first impression isn’t, “well hey look, a strong, complex female character!” It seems a lot of times directors think the best way to cover up a weak character is to take off more, if you know what I mean. To me she seemed to try too hard for such an outstandingly generic character. I don’t know if it was her delivery or the writing, but her character just was uninteresting and fell flat for me.

 

Alice Eve meme ermahgerd

This meme didn’t help either.

 

What about the other actors (as this is a very crew-centered series)? Chris Pine is becoming a rather believable Kirk, Zachary Quinto‘s Spock is good but still feels very different than the original, and I think Zoe Saldana is doing a great job with Uhura this time. Scotty, Dr. Bones, and even Sulu all had some great comedic moments. One thing I did notice about Bones (Karl Urban) is that Urban really enjoys playing the character, and he also really enjoys saying almost every line in the exact same way/tone. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 

Star-Trek-Bones

I keep telling you I’m a DOCTOR, dangit!

 

I’ll shoot straight, I have never really been a Star Trek guy, mainly because of all the sci-fi garble, sometimes incomprehensible plots, and the style of action (please, put down your pitchforks, Trekkies). Now my last reservation has been made moot by the reboot- there’s a lot of action, and it’s all freakin’ sweet. My small brain had a lot less trouble with this plot (Khan=ancient superhuman=bad) than the crazy black hole/time travel/alternate universe stuff of the first movie. However, there still was a lot of sentences that were like, “The Sciencey Sciencinator is cycled out! The radiation will trilliate our science combustors! Science!!!” Or at least that’s how I heard them.

 

Pictured: Science.

Pictured: Science.

 

What can I add? The story was interesting, the cast was (mostly) effective, and it was well-paced, keeping even my non-Trekkie interest.  The special effects were also pretty (and to be honest the lens flares were noticeably more restrained), but I didn’t get to see it in 3D, which I’ve heard is actually well-done. Maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to watch it again.

 

Star Trek Into Darkness Opening

Did these scene seem super random to anyone else? Anybody?





“God Mode” – Person of Interest Season Finale Review (Episode 22)

10 05 2013

CBS Person of Interest Banner Trojan Horse

“God Mode” did such a good job of wrapping up the season’s plot line, you didn’t notice till the end what a mess it really made. John Nolan had said in a prior interview that this episode ended “part one” of Person of Interest. How dramatic a change will we be seeing? Honestly it’s hard to say, but hopefully it’ll be less dramatic than Finch and Nathan’s flashbacks this episode. Now we know how bad of a day Finch had- and how it changed him physically and morally. To me, seeing these long-unanswered questions (Finch’s limp, Nathan’s death) finally revealed was one of the highlights of this episode, if only because that’s where I felt the emotional punch in the gut.

In the present, we got a crazy conspiracy/science fiction plot that centered on Team Kick-Butt (Reese and Shaw) trying to beat Team Chess Club (Finch and Root) to the physical location of The Machine. The hackers beat them by a few minutes, which is unimpressive considering Team Kick-Butt saved not one, but two numbers along the way. After Root’s (Amy Acker) ominous “ready to meet God?” speech before opening the final door, it was almost funny to see just a guy sitting at a card table in a giant empty room. Talk about a letdown. Creepily, The Machine had moved itself to a new location through a series of manipulative communications, which is problematic since The Machine seems to like Root now (I mean, I understand why, if you have a thing for attractive, brilliant psychos).

Should Finch have let The Machine free? Should Carter have saved Elias? That’s the great thing about this show; it doesn’t answer every moral question for the viewer. Before, we had a government branch completely free of oversight and out of control, and now we have a sentient program equally free. However, just like last season’s finale, we have no idea what The Machine will do. To be honest, it’s not quite as much as a cliff-hanger as last season because I really can’t tell which plot twists are bad and which are good (though Root in control of The Machine? Yeah, that’s probably bad).

Amy Acker POI

Hacker Showdown!

Final Thoughts:

1. WHERE. WAS. FUSCO. He’s seriously been missing in action in several episodes, but why in the world did they keep him out of the finale? Basically every other major or minor character (except Zoe) made appearances (even the obscure Russian gangster),  except one of the four main characters is left out? I don’t know, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, especially with all the development he’s gone through this season; I expected some sort of payoff…

2. Speaking of, where did Shaw go at the end? The last we see her is leaving the facility, and we find Root at the hospital, but Shaw’s not with Finch and Reese. At this point, I guess it’s safe to say she’s in the private vigilante club after that initiation. Not to mention they’re the only people not trying to knock her off.

3. Another unanswered question- what is Carter going to do with Elias? Will she take him back to prison? Let him loose again? Go on fantastic adventures on a cross-country road trip? Eh, probably one of the first two options.

4. I think that was the shortest number ever at the wedding. Talk about efficiency. What makes it more hilarious is the new couple will never have any idea what the heck happened at their wedding. “Congratulations.”

5. This is it. Welcome to the long, dry summer of no new episodes. Look out for a season 2 wrap-up review soon- I have to write about something, right?

Conclusion: 9.0/10





Iron Man 3 Review

7 05 2013
iron man 3

More like Iron Men 3

 

This weekend I joined the masses of people who went to watch Robert Downey Jr.’s autobiographical movie: Iron Man 3. Seriously, it’s hard to think of an actor who’s embraced his character as much as Downey Jr. has, but it seems to have been a good thing, as the role’s made him as rich as Tony Stark. Anyway, Iron Man was the Marvel film franchise that birthed the whole Avengers cash machine, and in my opinion is one of the only Avengers standalone films that stands on its own two feet and doesn’t feel like just a setup/promo for the BIG Avengers movies. Was Iron Man 3 strong enough to wash Iron Man 2 from my memory?

 

Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man 3 hand

Trivia: Robert Downey Jr suffers from a crippling case of insecurity.

 

Short answer: Yes. It’s got a new director, endless one-liners (almost too many), and pretty sweet action sequences (at least sweeter than an old guy swinging two whips). It even has a sequence in my good ol’ hometown of Chattanooga (more on that in a few). Robert Downey Jr. and pretty much everybody else seems be having a blast (though I would be too). Guy Pearce is surprisingly effective as a pitiable character and a villain. However, is it perfect? “NOO!” would scream a surprisingly large number comic book fanboys (also more on that in a sec).

 

Yes, of course he takes his shirt off in the film.

Yes, of course he takes his shirt off in the film.

 

I’m not one of those fanboys (I mean, Bruce Wayne could beat up Tony Stark, right guys? Oh shoot, don’t burn down my Batman fortress, Marvel followers), but I did have a few reservations about parts of the movie, but first how about a big (SPOILERS) tag? My main beef with the Iron Man films is how seriously two-dimensional nearly every female character is (with the usual exception of Pepper Potts). Rebecca Hall’s character was no exception, which is a shame because anyone who’s seen movies like The Town or The Prestige knows she can act, but there’s just not much to her character (besides a plot device). On another picky note, martial arts Pepper Potts at the end didn’t quite do it for me (what does that stuff give, strength and training?). Also, the Avengers references, while I guess are necessary, aren’t handled very well, leading to an almost tacked-on feeling.

 

Rebecca hall

Pictured: missed potential

 

One part apparently rustling some fan’s feathers is the film’s treatment of The Mandarin (AGAIN, SPOILERS FOR THE UNINITIATED). Personally, I loved Ben Kingsley as both Evil Mandarin and Comic Relief Mandarin, not to mention the reveal of the facade being an extremely effective plot twist. Yeah, I get it. If they had portrayed The Joker as a washed-up actor who wasn’t even a real villain, but the invention of say The Penguin, I wouldn’t be wearing this Christopher Nolan fanboy shirt right now. But The Mandarin’s not The Joker, is he? Outside of comic book readers, I doubt anyone would recognize him (I didn’t), and I think the writers’ choice fit the movie. If anything, his early propaganda videos were kind of cheesy, but it makes sense later when you realize the whole thing was a sham.

 

ben kingsley iron man 3

Ben Kingsley at home.

 

Finally, what’s with Chattanooga and movies lately? Water for Elephants, 42, and now Iron Man 3 all either filmed in Chattanooga, TN (the first two) or actually were supposed to take place there (this one). However, short of putting “Chattanooga” on a couple of signs, they really didn’t bother at all trying to make it look like the city (sorry, this is a personal rant).

 

Pictured: Chattanooga

Pictured: Chattanooga

 

Instead, we got an unimpressive small brick building that represents what the writers thought a city in Tennessee should look like. (Ahem) I think I’m done now.

 

Chattanooga location Iron Man 3

Pictured: Not Chattanooga.

 

Anyhoo, Iron Man 3 isn’t the most profound movie, but it’s an epically fun blockbuster with some great stylized action (finally). And of course, stay after the credits.

 





“Zero Day” Person of Interest Review (Episode 21)

3 05 2013

CBS Person of Interest Banner Trojan Horse

 

“Zero Day” definitely is meant to set up next week’s season finale. But is this a filler POI episode? Absolutely not- if anything, I would call this Part 1 of the finale. We finally get to learn more about The Machine-and its connection to Finch (and Nathan). Apparently, the poor thing started to grow a personality, but Finch found out long ago and has had it delete itself (minus the numbers information) every night. Thus, every night at midnight (cue dramatic music) it is essentially reborn. That is, if it hadn’t been printing out code versions of its “memories” everyday, then having real (clueless) people  manually type it back into itself. Holy Sci-Fi, Batman! Person of Interest always has been based on a bit of science fiction (maybe not as much as we think), but this episode went a wee further down the rabbit hole.

However, in my opinion, these twists completely worked- I completely did not see any of it coming (The Machine made its own ghost person, what?), and it sets up a heck of a finale. Basically Decima Technologies’ virus wasn’t meant to destroy The Machine, only get it to reboot itself, at which point it calls a toll phone, and whoever answers gets full administrative access for a day. Little handy, maybe. But at least it gave an excuse for Finch to have an awkward reunion and team-up with everyone’s favorite cute sociopath, Root (Amy Acker). Throw in Carter getting framed for a possible unarmed shooting of a civilian, and you get the feeling next week will feature more than fetch with Bear.

 

Finch POI Root Season 2

The happy couple.

Random Thoughts:

1. Fusco, where art thou? Last week really gave a lot of time to him, but that doesn’t mean we had to take a complete break from the character. Of course, it’s understood that he’ll play a role in the finale with everyone else. Speaking of, we didn’t see Bear either this time- could Fusco be using him for the case?

2. Some episodes I like Shaw (Sarah Shahi). Others, I don’t really care for her. This was a “like” episode. Seeing her actually working with Reese? They didn’t even break a sweat clearing buildings.

3. Speaking of girl power, how about Root sweetly threatening Grace to Finch? That’s crossing a big line. Now I’m hoping for a cat fight between her and Root, just because that would be a really short cat fight (taser or not).

4. I always enjoy seeing flashbacks between Finch and Nathan, but these were especially good. Seeing how Nathan thought like Finch before even Finch did was surprising, and it was chilling to see the moment Nathan’s number came up, right after Finch shut it off.

5. So next episode, we’ve got HR aiming for Carter, Ominous White Haired Man (John Nolan) trying to take the world with Decima Tech, with Reese/Shaw and Finch/Root paired up trying to stop him. To be honest, I really don’t know what kind of changes are coming for any of those characters. It’s definitely finale time.

 

Conclusion: 8.5/10