Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ascension 2014 (Miniseries) 6 out of 10 Warning spoilers

Ascension 2014 6 out of 10

These comments are spoiler filled.

I was really looking forward to Ascension based on the trailer.
Ascension focuses on a Space mission that was sent to colonize Proxima Centauri.  So for many of crew of this 100 year long mission their entire lives would be on this spaceship never touching land.  The mission began back in the Kennedy era and the crew in style and form seems to be stuck in that era.  It seemed like a good idea and the first night of this 3 night miniseries was actually pretty good.  Here is a breakdown about what I thought of the miniseries Night by Night.

  Night 1.  
The story of the first night revolves around the first murder aboard the ship which in year 51 of its journey.  One of the top officers sets out to get to the bottom of this murder while the viewers get to explore the 1960's Mad Men type Playboy Club vibe of the spaceship.   There is also a storyline about modern day in which someone is looking into this secret mission and whether it exists at all.  The first night of this show was solid with interesting teases that something is going on with one of the kids aboard the ship  She  mentions that someone is watching them?   The show ends with one of the murder suspects battling the officer and getting shot out of the airlock.   This is where the first night ends with a huge reveal.   The spaceship isn't in space after all.  The entire ship is in a giant military bunker and the space journey is just an experiment run government.   This was an excellent reveal and had me excited for the next night.   Watching the character plummet into space and land in a giant stunt balloon was cool,  unfortunately the show descended after this pivotal event.

Night 2
After the huge reveal at the end of night 1 we settle into the concept that the entire space mission is basically the Truman Show  like secret government experiment.   It was a cool concept --but the show went downhill from there.   On board the ship they are all having sex and trying to find a saboteur and the little girl seems to somehow know that something is wrong about the whole ship.   The story on Earth with the secret government people is weak and deals with a consultant being sent in to report to superiors on the project, which was a dumb plot line that took away for the more interesting Ship storyline.   At this point the show starts to become a lot less watchable.  The girl that died is now a ghost and walking around the ship trying to show the young girl that seems to have psychic powers.  Meanwhile we are supposed to care random power moves that are happening aboard the ship --which really don't matter to the story.  The show doesn't really know what it wants to be at this point.  Is it a Dallas or Dynasty or a sci-fi show?

Night 3
By the third night --I was already starting to check out.  The charm and interest of this 60's style space journey was falling apart into both inside and outside the ship.  The government consultant decides to escape the project with the guy that had been "spaced" in a completely unnecessary storyline.   The dialogue and acting of the power struggle for the government people running the project was just terrible.  Meanwhile the Space ship's crew is dealing with a energy storm that was created by the "Firestarter" girl and her growing powers.  The whole experiment keeps getting close to being exposed including a broadcast of Alf showing up on one of the monitors and one of the characters questioning this.   It could have been a great series --turned into a really cheesy show by the end of night 3.   The government agents decide to extract the girl that has developed powers.   The acceleration of her powers is ridiculous.   A good concept was basically ruined by some bad story choices and awful dialogue and acting.   I started interested in what was happening on the ship and because the stuff on Earth was so terrible ---I ended up not caring much for the show at all by the end.  I really can't see watching the show if is does get picked up as a series now.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Podcast where we discuss the upcoming slate of Marvel Movies

Here is our latest blog where we discuss the upcoming slate of Marvel movies.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sleepy Hollow : Season 1 : A TV show review

Sleepy Hollow Season 1  

I remember last year before this show aired when we did a podcast about the upcoming fall TV Season --saying that I was interested in watching it, but that I wasn't sure where they were going to pull off the Sleepy Hollow and Headless Horseman story.   I mentioned that I love the Disney animated Sleepy Hollow as well as the Washington Irving short story which I have read numerous times. How in the world were they going to turn that into a TV show?  
I just couldn't imagine how they would pull that off.  
Well a really good strong Season 1 has answered that question. 

The show features a resurrected Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) waking up in modern day Sleep Hollow being tasked with basically trying to stop the end of the world with the help of a female cop (Nicole Beharie).   It has elements similar to Grimm and Fringe and is basically what Chris Carter's Millennium should have been.   Ichabod's humor comes out of his fish out of water situation --as he tries to help unravel mysteries while making funny comments about the modern world.   The problem with a fish out of water story is eventually the fish gets used to the water and I'm sure that as the story goes along this will slowly fade away as he gets used to how the modern world is.   For season 1 this fish out of water story  element adds a lot to the humor of the show which generally has very dark stories to tell. The chemistry between the main characters grew strong in Season 1 and the actual final episode felt big screen worthy.   

The show does a great job of weaving in both modern day and flashbacks to Ichabod's time period.   I had watched it from the beginning of Season 1 until about half way through the run when we got hooked on Castle and started watching that from Season 1 to current.   So it wasn't until we were caught up on that show that I was able to revisit Season 1 of Sleepy Hollow --which finished really strong.   It was a great idea from the producers who also worked on Fringe to bring John Noble along for the ride in the middle of Season 1.  His great ability to add gravity to a story as he did so well on Fringe helped build to an amazing season finale.     The Headless Horseman as one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was a great story concept and provides the show with a strong mythology.  The show like a Fringe or X-Files definitely gets into the monster of the week type story lines- but the strength of the mythology and the pace that it moves forward is really a major strong point of the show.   I won't spoil the Finale of Season 1 other than to say that it was a truly satisfying cliffhanger with many stories all coming to a head at the same time. 
I've heard the season two falls into a bit of a sophomore slump --but I'm anxious to dig into it just he same.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dr. Strange 2007 (Animated Movie) 3 out of 10

Dr. Strange  2007   3 out of 10

I sure hope the big budget live action version starring Benedict Cumberbatch is better than this  animated movie.  I really hope they don't spend the whole movie telling his  rather dull origin story.   I'm so sick of boring origin stories of comic book characters---get to the good stuff already.  This animated Marvel movie should be called Dr. Boring instead of Dr. Strange.  The pacing of the story is super slow and plodding. The character development was tedious and made the character completely uninteresting.   I was pretty much over the movie before he even started doing Magic.  It was basically a bad Kung Fu training movie.  Maybe I'm just not going to like this character at all --I virtually know nothing about the character--and this animated film left me less interested finding out more.   There was some decent action at the very end --but it was too little to late as I had already checked out of the movie.
Watch the trailer (It is far more exciting then the movie)

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Colony 2013 6 out of 10

The Colony 2013 6 out of 10

It is the end of the world and the earth has frozen over. What is left of humanity is living underground and trying to hold onto to their humanity.  It is a brutal life at colony 7.  Those that catch a cold are sent to quarantine and if they don't get better they are killed or sent into the snow as to not spread the virus amongst the small bit of society that is left. 

The Acting
  The main character is played well by Kevin Zegers  and this low budget sci-fi film stars a couple of big name actors -- Laurence Fishburne and the always entertaining Bill Paxton .  As a result the acting was better than you would expect for this end of the world film.

The Film
The film itself was fairly good as the survivors deal with this new harsh society.   They get a distress call from another Colony and their leader Laurence Fishburne goes out with several others to check it out.   It is basically a Zombie movie without zombies.  What they discover at the other colony is that it has been wiped out by feral human cannibals.   The cannibals chase them back to their colony and it is a fight for survival.   It brings up the same questions as in the recent season of The Walking Dead about how quickly we could lose our humanity in an apocalyptic world.  Could humans quickly devolve into Canibalism like the folks at Terminus or the feral gang of cannibals in this flick?  It is a question I would rather not think about --yet a question that makes for decent cinema.  

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Monday, December 8, 2014

World War Z 2013 8 out of 10 (Zombie Movie Review # 9)

World War Z  2013   8 out of 10

I intentionally skipped this movie in the theaters.   The trailer just looked awful to me and highlighted the bad overly CGI'd effects.  

 After our recent zombie themed podcast and on the recommendation of both Andy and Russell,  I decided it was time to give this movie a chance.  
 (to hear that Zombie  podcast go here)

The Brad Pitt Factor

The movie itself was actually pretty good.  I really don't know why Brad Pitt has never become a major action star.  Other than Mr. and Mrs. Smith he really has stayed out of the action movie genre and it is a shame because Tom Cruise wouldn't hold a candle to him if he had his own Mission Impossible type franchise.  Instead he spends too much of his time making movie like Benjamin Buttons (to each his own).   Brad Pitt is what makes this movie work.  I remember Hollywood was extremely nervous when this movie came out thinking it was going to be a giant bomb  --due to rewrites and  reshoots it was thought that it might bomb.   Instead it turned into Brad Pitt's biggest box office hit so far.  

The Plot
The plot was decent for a Zombie movie.  The concept of the people turning immediately into zombies within 11 seconds lead to the insanely quick spread of the apocalypse and pacing and urgency of the movie itself.     The movie  was able to show how quickly society could fall apart in such a situation  (which seems even more relevant while watching similar  types of behavior  happening in the streets of American over grand jury ruling).   If people can so quickly become enraged over a trial regardless of the evidence to where they start recklessly burning their own town down---then a zombie outbreak would most definitely cause even worse behavior.   The best scene to illustrate this was the grocery store scene with people just grabbing what they want in totally chaos.  Brad Pitt kills a man to protect his family and a cop just runs past him loading up his own basket full of supplies.    The end of the movie was a little weak with the discovery Brad Pitt makes to fight against the Zombies  (which I will let those you haven't seen it discover for themselves).

The Action
Probably one of the best scenes in the movie was the opening car scene with Brad Pitt and his family in the middle of the city when the outbreak first kicks into gear.  That sequence reminded me of a really cool scene from one of the Harrison Ford Jack Ryan movies where his car was trapped on a street between drug lords.  The action of this scene was a great way to kick off the movie

The Effects
The  Effects were still a weak spot in the movie for me.   I know what they were going for --but the Zombies as CGI ants climbing the wall was a little too much.  They were also scenes were the Zombies looked like a flood a salmon going up stream.  

All in all it was a lot better than I original expected ---but still even with a huge budget and Brad Pitt --it wasn't as good as The Walking Dead.   I truly believe no single Zombie movie will ever again have the impact of this amazing TV show that I once called the Slow and Plodding dead after just 5 episodes.  I'll discuss the first half of the current season of the Walking Dead later this week.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 5 out of 10

X-Men: Days of Future Past  2014  5 out 10

The latest X-Men movie –seemed less a movie and more of an attempt to reposition the X-Men universe going forward which is a shame.  I actually liked the previous prequel story.    It is like the executives gave the writers an order to incorporate the younger versions of the characters introduced in the most recent film with the older versions that included Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen.   They must have also had orders to find a way to add Wolverine to the mix….The most popular X-Men character that was basically absent from the last picture. With Days of Future Past–they have basically said ---screw what we have shown you previously.   Professor X who –died  in Last Stand is alive in this movie with no explanation and time travel....really -what is this Star Trek?

  The movie starts in a near apocalyptic future where the mutants are being wiped out by some super robots that can take on their abilities.    They decide to send Wolverine back in time in to his former self to try and stop the events that lead to this situation.  By doing this the producers accomplished their goal of having both casts in the movie and making Wolverine one of the main characters.    The movie focuses on Mystique trying to kill the guy that creates the Sentinels and Professor X  convinced by Wolverine trying to stop her.  They also enlist the help of Magneto who they spend part of the movie breaking out of a high security prison  (bad idea).    Magneto ends up trying to make things a lot worse….(what a surprise)….In the end  Professor X prevails and Wolverine wakes up back in the future at X’s school having changed the future and nullified many of the events of previous X-men films.  Certain characters that had died are now alive again to position them to do what they want with the franchise going forward.  

The movie had some decent action sequences and the acting was good, but the plot was just underwhelming and the whole movie just felt like an setup of episode of the TV series rather than a stand alone movie.  The plot seemed unnatural.  Certain characters were in the movie just to have them in the movie like Storm.   They ignored certain events from past movies--while basically using the entire film to setup the X-Men going forward in an alternate universe.  I found this aspect of the film insulting to the viewers of the previous films.

Check out the Den of Geek post about 11 Questions about X-Men Days of Future answered.

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