Saturday, April 29, 2017

Passengers 2016 7+ out of 10

Passengers  2016  7+ out of 10

Passengers is about a space flight to a distant planet that will take 120 years.   Something goes wrong and Jim Preston wakes up 90 years too early. 

It is basically a last man on earth movie abroad a spaceship.  Jim Preston (played by Chris Pratt )--can't get his hibernation chamber to work again to go back to sleep.  He is basically doomed to live the rest of his life alone and die before the ship reaches it's destination.    The first part of the film plays out like a more subtle version of the TV show Last Man on Earth.  Jim comes to terms with his dilemma and tries to make the best of it.  Swimming in the pool and doing a space walk and at least he has the cool bartender robot to hang out with.  But after a year alone Jim is all bearded and has gone a little crazy.   He nearly kills himself as a result of his loneliness -and then sits down with the bartender in a scene that reminded me of Jack Nicholson hanging out with the ghost bartender in The Shining.

Of course the smart thing to do would be to try and find someone on board the ship to wake up that could help him get back to sleep--but instead he has fallen in love with a girl named Aurora Lane (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and decides against his better judgment to wake her up instead.  What lonely guy on a spaceship --wouldn't want to be alone with Jennifer Lawrence?   She like him at first searches for answers and then of course they eventually start to accept their fate and begin to fall for each other. Then of course his secret about waking her up is revealed and let's just say things between them go a little sour.   (Queue the third act)

The ship takes on more damage and Laurence Fishbourne  wakes up from a malfunction in his chamber.  His character Gus is a part of the crew.  They all team up and fight to save the ship as the ship is slowly tearing itself apart from major damage.  You will have to watch the movie yourself to see how that turns out.

A movie like this relies on the main two characters to have great chemistry. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence have just that on screen together and basically make what could be boring scenes to some people interesting.   It is a simple sci-fi movie that I believe was well written and decently paced.  The story was good. The acting was good and the visuals were excellent.  It was an enjoyable movie that I think got more bad reviews than it deserved.   I think maybe the expectations of what the film was going to be may have contributed to that.  I enjoyed it for what it was and give it a 7+ out of 10.   

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Arrival 2016 6 out of 10 (Some Quick thoughts on this film)

Arrival 2016  6 out of 10

I really wanted to see this movie when it came out in the theaters. The hype for this film was through the roof.   I was hoping the film would be like some amazing Arthur C Clarke book ...  I guess I set up some expectations that the film wasn't going to meet.   One of my top 10 films of all-time is  Close Encounters of the Third Kind --so I like the genre.   This film was no Close Encounters.

About an hour into the movie I found myself bored and thinking that this movie better have and interesting and satisfying ending.  The film was basically about trying to communicate with this strange aliens that had landed all over Earth and the story moves at a snails pace   Amy Adams stars as the main character --with Jeremy Renner basically just standing around in the background not adding much other than giving her character someone to talk to. Her character starts to break through and talk with the Aliens that are basically giant squids that communicate by making symbols with floatings ink inside their spaceship.  This is pretty much the entire story.  The movie tries to build some tension with the fact that there are eleven other spaceships in eleven other countries that are all racing to decipher the message first.   Of course a message is misread at one point as well causing more tension in the story.  I was expecting the message to read "To Serve Man", but it didn't.  

The end itself was satisfying --but for me it was too little to late.  This story would have worked better as a short story or as an episode of Outer Limits instead of a movie.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Kong Skull Island 2017 vs King Kong 2005 (Battle of the Kongs)

Kong Skull Island 2017 8 out of 10

I recently got out and saw Kong Skull Island this past weekend and enjoyed it.  I immediately wanted to re-visit  King Kong from 2005 to compare the two films. 

They were very different Kong films one is basically an updated remake of the original King Kong and takes place in the 1930's  and the other is a completely different angle on the Kong story and takes place in the 1970's at the end of Vietnam.

The Differences in King Kong himself
Skull Island Kong in the new film is absolutely gigantic.  He seems more like a giant mutated bigfoot and spends much of his time upright. The scene where the helicopters first encounter this Kong is awesome.   The military helicopters are no match for this giant Kong.   Why is this new Kong so oversized?   It is obvious that they are trying to set up a movie universe in which this King Kong can fight Godzilla.   The story focuses on Skull Island basically being a doorway to Hollow Earth which is a land of monsters. Skull Islands creatures aren't dinos, but instead some type of Mysterious underworld beasts.  The 2005  King Kong was more like a giant Gorilla living in a lost continent of oversized beasts. Peter Jackson's Kong is a more likable and humanized Kong. (Thanks to Andy Serkis mo cap performance).  Basically this Kong lives in a land of Dinosaurs.   

The Action
Both movies have some great action sequences.
Skull Island:  Features a great sequence as Kong takes on all the helicopters.    There are some good action sequences as the main characters try to avoid the creatures that live in the Hollow Earth and Kong's battle with this creatures near the end of the film is exactly what you would expect and hope for.   Samuel Jackson is in typical bad ass mode and is out for revenge on Kong for all the fellow military members he has lost which leads to some Michael Bay style explosions.
King Kong 2005:  Features some great action sequences as well.   (Okay so the Dinosaur stampede was a little over the top)  but when Kong squares off against three T-Rex's while protecting the main heroine... that sequence was epic.  And since this Kong follows the original 1933 story we also get Kong loose in New York and the iconic  Empire State Building sequence.

King Kong 2005  9+ out of 10

The Story :
King Kong from 2005 is a loving tribute to the original 1933 film. It has the tone and heart of the original film and the visuals are spectacular.   Kong falls in love with his sacrifice in the form of beautiful Noami Watts and it is eventually his undoing.  It is a Beauty and the Beast story where Kong is basically the misunderstood hero.   My only complaint about the film is the length as it is a long movie.  It starts a little slow taking awhile to develop the characters and get to the Island.  Once at the island it is an amazing film that stands up there with some of the Jurassic Park films.
Kong Skull Island 2017  is a different Kong.    Kong is still basically the misunderstood hero.  After all he is just trying to protect his island and the villagers on it from the creatures below.  Samuel L Jackson happens to invade Kong's Island and pays the price for that.  It is a fun Kong movie and a decent take on the Kong story, but is missing the love story element and the heart that Peter Jackson's Kong was able to recreate.  I think they were more concerned with setting up this giant Kong as a bad ass for future possible films  (vs Godzilla for example)  then telling the best Kong story.    Still a fun watch regardless.

The winner in this battle of Kong's for me in the Peter Jackson version.   Although if the two Kong's themselves actually battled  The much larger(less Gorilla like)  Skull Island Kong would surely win.

Kong Skull Island 2017

King Kong 2005

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