Monthly Archives: January 2012
With the coming apocalypse of 2012 to a neighborhood near you, I guess it is time to be prepared. Prepare for the best, expect the worst. But if it’s coming from outer space with advanced technology, it’s usually not friendly, according to the movies. Here are some guides in order for humanity to prepare for interstellar war and survival.
This movie may be the best to prepare us for interstellar war. With the likes of Will Smith, Brent Spiner and Bill Pullman to help humanity, anything is possible. With Pullman’s “Independence Day” speech, it is one for President Barack Obama to inspire from, should aliens invade Earth.
With the inspiration of the military, our boots on the ground, the Roughnecks, can battle giant, ugly insects on Earth as well as on other planets. However, these insects are capable of evolving and have many pawns to throw at us.
Nothing like Ellen Ripley to save a bunch of marines and to save our hides, if need be. With her smarts, resourcefulness and sheer willpower, if she doesn’t inspire, I don’t know who will.
The Predator is the ultimate killing machine. Facing one is dangerous enough as Major Dutch Shaeffer found out as the Predator slaughtered his fellow soldiers. Arnold Schwartzenegger can help us again…maybe.
Men in Black
Nothing like Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith (yet again) to save us from the hidden alien threat. Will Smith has the veteran chops to battle aliens everywhere and anywhere.
With no one to turn to, the Green Lanterns will be always to help. Despite some having an alien heritage, their rings and their brains will ultimately save us from alien threats.
John Carpenter’s masterpiece shows us that some aliens will choose to mimic those that the species that they want to take over. With scientists fighting for the Earth’s survival and without any equipment to warn of the incoming danger, it looks very bleak indeed. A prequel will be coming soon that might help us survive this onslaught.
With aliens able to mimic human beings and animals, they certainly should have the ability to mimic automobiles, helicopters, jets and other forms of human transportation. Should something like Megatron find its way to Earth, at least we have Sam Witwicky and the Autobots to protect us.
A party. A giant monster. A shaky-cam. Something doesn’t belong here. Oh that’s right, the giant freaking monster attacking the city! This is the survival guide that you shouldn’t follow.
With giant aliens taking over much of Mexico, it is a matter of time before they reach the United States. This guide will help you at least survive through Mexican territory, but it is a meager survival at best.
Well, this is the end of the guided tour of guides to surviving the alien apocalypse. These guides are helpful somewhat from determining normal aliens to aliens that can mimic. Both are dangerous in their own right. I wish you the best of luck…
In the near future, instead of the UFC, Pride or other mixed martial arts venues, robots come into the scene as fighters. It’s the irony of ironies: geek boxing. Real Steel came as a pleasant surprise. Although it is somewhat touted as a family movie, one must be careful because it still has some foul language and violence.
Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up boxer. Max Kenton, his son, is played by Dakota Goyo. Bailey Tallet, Charlie’s close friend and daughter of his former trainer. Anthony Mackie stars as Finn, Charlie’s friend and promoter of an illegal fighting ring. For those familiar with The Adjustment Bureau, he played Harry Mitchell in that film. Charlie’s wealthy Aunt Debra and Uncle Marvin are played by Hope Davis and James Rebhorn respectively.
Now to the cast of villains…Ricky, the nemesis of this film, is played by Kevin Durand. Karl Yune stars as Tak Mashido, the creator of Zeus, the champion of the World Robot Boxing (WRB) league. Farra Lemkova, the shady female promoter of Zeus (and Tak), is played by Olga Fonda.
In 2020, human boxing is replaced by robot boxing. In this world, Charlie Kenton tries to bring Bailey and himself money to survive. However, when he had an opportunity with the former great robot, Noisy Boy, he overestimated his control of the robot fighter and ultimately lost. However, through Max’s discovery of a Generation-2 robot named Atom, Charlie and Max find redemption, friendship and ultimately, a winning combination.
This movie was a pleasant surprise. Although the premise of robot boxing is quite fantastical, it was Hugh Jackman, Bailey Tallet and Max Kenton that made the film. They all gave wonderful performances. The CGI for the robots was spectacular and only made the film more believable. This is a family film, but it is best with teenagers. I certainly would not take children younger to see this film, no matter how good the message is.
This movie was a twist of ironies and absurdities. In the end, it became a blue-collar film with robots and thousand-dollar budgets. Kind of funny…
(On a side note, this movie is based on the short story “Steel” by Robert Matheson. And on another, the MIT Autonomous Robotic Competition, which features current fighting robots, will be held on February 1, 2012 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If you enjoyed this movie, this is certainly more than a treat.)
If one can get past the backstory of robot boxing and some of the graphic violence and language, this is a wonderful movie to watch with the family, given that you have teenagers or so. Overall, this film gets a 9 out of 10.
- Reel Steel Review (4shothoughts.com)
Two college students return home for college during winter break. However, the driver is not as expected. An unfortunate crash does not help things either as they fight for survival and against wandering ghosts. Wind Chill was a good attempt at a horror movie, but this is more a retelling of the Woman in White story (see Supernatural: Season 1 for reference). (On a side note, for a better Woman in White experience, please watch What Lies Beneath instead.)
Emily Blunt stars as the Girl. Ashton Holmes stars as the Guy, or her classmate. The Highway Patrolman is played by Martin Donovan. Chelan Simmons stars as the Blonde Girl. Lastly, the Snowplow Driver is played by Ned Bellamy.
A young woman from a northeastern college seeks to return home from college to Delaware and takes a ride from a classmate of hers. They take Route 606 as a shortcut, but when their car gets run off the road by another, things only go downhill from there as they fight the bitter cold and ghosts of the past.
This movie mirrors what movies in the past have done concerning the Woman in White ghost story. What Lies Beneath is one such movie (and much better done). However, instead of a professor like Harrison Ford, this one involved two college students. However, neither Emily Blunt or Ashton Holmes had enough charisma or acting chops to salvage this disaster of a film. The costumes for the ghosts were mediocre, if not laughable. The story failed to be engrossing at all.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This independent movie was quite a disaster. Neither Emily Blunt or Ashton Holmes could pull this movie out of the cold and into the fire…or is it vice versa? In any case, the verdict is a sad 2 out 10.
A pair of red shoes.
The cast basically consists of five major people. Sun-jae is played by Hye-su Kim. She is the woman who picks up the pair of red shoes in the train after the first incident involving the shoes. Park Yeon-ah plays Tae-su, Sun-jae’s daughter. Seong-su Kim plays In-cheol, Sun-jae’s boyfriend. Kim Mi-hee, Sun-jae’s friend, is played by Go Soo-hee. Lastly, Sung-joon, Sun-jae’s ex-husband, is played by Lee Eol.
One day on the subway, Sun-jae finds a pair of red shoes in a subway car. However, these shoes carry with it a deadly curse as it seeks to kill Sun-jae and her daughter Tae-su. As the mystery of the shoes unravels, ghosts of past owners begin to pursue her everywhere she walks, including her new apartment.
This is one intense horror movie as one will lose time as the story deepens regarding these pair of red shoes. The gore is incredibly well done, and the ghosts mirror ghosts of typical Asian horror films (like Ringu). The simple tap-tap-tap of footsteps is immensely creepy in the subway as Sun-jae and other past owners wear the shoes. Those moments bring creepiness to a whole new level. In order to appreciate this film, one must enjoy horror movies, creepiness and simplicity.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This horror film, in my book, deserves a 9 out of 10. The ending is a bit ambiguous and thought-provoking as one must figure what the past events in the film ultimately led to and who Sun-jae is.
Comedy. Horror. 1950s.
Parents is the directional debut by Bob Babalan of this cult comedy-horror film. It starts out slow but ends with a bang (literally).
Randy Quaid stars as Nick Laemle, the lab worker at Toxico. Mary Beth Hurt stars as Lily Laemle, his loving wife. Michael Laemle, their son or the “Boy,” is played by Bryan Madorsky. Sandy Dennis stars as Millie Dew, otherwise known aptly as the “Social Worker” in the film. Sheila Zellner, Michael’s “girlfriend,” is played by Juno Mills-Cockell, or London Juno.
When a couple arrives in 1954 suburban Massachusetts, Michael, their son, adapts to his new friends at school and their homelife. However, when he begins questioning the origins of their huge cuts of meat on the dinner table, his parents become less than responsive. Through nightmares and accidentally discoveries in the cellar, the situation ultimately boils and spills over in the family.
The pacing of this film is incredibly slow through the first three quarters of this film. However, once Michael began exploring the cellar, the action and the horror picked up. There were nice tributes to The Shining throughout the film in Michael’s nightmares. Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt played their parts extremely well, and the selection of 1950s music was appropriate. This movie had a certain element of campiness to it, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This movie is a diamond in the rough and deserves a 6.5 out of 10. The slow pacing through the first three quarters was the major flaw of the film. If the pacing was a tad quicker, this film would have been phenomenal.
Mars Needs Moms! was definitely a unique and incredibly expensive Disney “family” movie. The idea that martians needs moms, or rather their maternal instinct, was most definitely different. Unfortunately, this movie lacked that special panache of other Disney films.
Seth Green stars as Milo, the kid in this film. I would make a remark about Seth Green from Family Guy from the Star Wars specials, but I’ll leave it at that. His Mom is played by Joan Cusack. Dan Fogler stars as Gribble, the kid who was trapped on Mars prior to Milo. Kevin Cahoon plays Wingnut, Gribble’s robotic sidekick. Ki, the rebel female martian, is played by Elisabeth Harnois. The Supervisor, the villain of the film, is played by Mindy Sterling. Lastly, Tom Scott Everett plays Milo’s Dad who has very short cameos.
After abduction of his Mom by martians, Milo learns the value of his Mom. The martians do as well after confronting the Supervisor.
Although the CGI was generally very good for a Disney film, this movie didn’t have the charm that others have had. The combination of Gribble and Ki was perhaps a bit too over-saturated for this film as characters. They didn’t have enough charisma to pull this film through. Seth Green as Milo was perhaps the only bright spot in this film. The martian males were characterized as unusually tribal, and the women were portrayed as elitists. This separation is a bit jarring to me as an adult as these stereotypes are a bit demeaning in of themselves. If it affected me in this manner, I could not imagine how it would affect someone six or younger. Additionally, during the last few moments of the film, it showed scenes of near death, particularly of Milo’s Mom. This was beyond disturbing to put it nicely. Overall, this is perhaps Disney’s most disappointing work.
(On a side note, Milo’s Mom is a Carolina Panthers fan as she had on Steve Smith’s jersey.)
Verdict (Out of 10)
This movie was barely salvageable. I would wholeheartedly give this film a dismal 6 out of 10. The two things that were immediately salvageable in this film were the character of Milo and the CGI animation. Beyond that, it was a pretty weak offering. You are better off with The Incredibles, Tangled or The Princess and the Frog than this.
Daniel Craig stars as Jake Lonergan, the outlaw and the anti-hero. He’s immediately familiar to those as the new James Bond in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Harrison Ford stars as Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde who is out for Jake Lonergan and his stolen gold. Olivia Wilde stars as Ella Swenson. She played Thirteen in House, M.D. television series and Quorra in TRON: Legacy, among other credits. Doc is played by Sam Rockwell. Adam Beach plays Nat Colorado, the Indian translator of Dolarhyde’s posse. Percy Dolarhyde, the Colonel’s wayward son, is played by Paul Dano. Keith Carradine stars as Sheriff John Taggart.
Arizona. 1873. A lone stranger, Jake Lonergan, who has no memory arrives in the town of Absolution to attempt to find out who he is but instead finds trouble with Colonel Dolarhyde. Strapped with a bracelet of unknown origin, he saves the town after an attack by the alien spaceships. Through recollections gradually of the events and the amassing of hands, Dolarhyde, Lonergan, Doc, the Indians and others eventually find and attack the mothership.
Granted, this movie had star power, but the actual substance of the film was lacking. The Western plot was weak, and the alien invasion was unusually quiet. At some moments throughout the film, it seemed as if the movie had an identity crisis or bipolar disorder. It couldn’t decide whether to be a science-fiction movie or a western. Ultimately, it became a derivative pulp western with a dash of science fiction. Maintaining interest, despite all the action and special effects, was difficult as I almost fell asleep through sheer boredom. All in all, Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde deserved better than these roles and this movie.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This movie deserves rightfully a 6 out of 10. If you don’t have anything to watch, then watch this movie, but otherwise, avoid it if you can.
A guys weekend in the woods.
With beer, stogies and bull.
This British zombie horror comedy was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Although the comedy in of itself is not the caliber of Shaun of the Dead, it does have some comedic moments. This movie was too harshly criticized by the media and deserved a better reception.
Danny Dyer stars as Neil, the “ladies man” of the group. Vince, the divorcee, is played by Stephen Graham. Noel Clarke stars as Mikey. For those familiar with the revamped Doctor Who, he played Mickey Smith, the boyfriend of Rose Tyler. Graham is played by Emil Marwa. Lee Ingleby plays Matt. Keith-Lee Castle stars as Patrick. Banksy is played by Neil Maskell. The last man of the group is Sergeant Gavin Wright who is played by Terry Stone. Candy, the woman driver, is played by Christina Cole.
Since Vince is depressed after his divorce, his boys decide to take him to the quiet town of Moodley where the women outnumber the men 4 to 1. This trip was designed to make him forget about women — more importantly, his recent divorce. However, a classified biological virus in the detergent affects only the female population turning them into cannibalistic zombies. These female zombies have a thirst for flesh and only made Vince’s and the boys weekend a bit hairier than expected.
This zombie horror comedy did have comedic moments throughout the film, but this movie is not quite the caliber of Shaun of the Dead. Most of the comedy is a bit misogynistic which may turn a lot of people off, but it was part of the “charm,” if you want to call it that, of the film. It is not a great film but an enjoyable one. Given the British star power, this zombie horror comedy was pulled off successfully. The problem lied in the ending which fell a bit short.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This movie is a diamond in the rough. Although most women won’t like the message, this zombie horror comedy is enjoyable when taken at face value. I give this movie a solid 8 out of 10. Like the guys in the film, it does have its flaws, but don’t judge it too harshly based on a few blemishes. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.
With the apocalypse close at hand since we are living in the year 2012, it may be the year of the zombie apocalypse…or maybe not. In light of this desperate situation, these are my selections for the top 10 modern zombie movies (in no particular order) as I stock up on food, necessities, beef jerky, handmade weapons and zombie repellent. Hold on one sec…
This remake by Zack Snyder is one of my Halloween favorites and favorite zombie movies as well. This movie has some intense moments. What makes this film particularly great is that the survivors could not escape the zombie apocalypse despite fleeing to the sea. Their misguided hopes were crushed.
After the popularity of the shaky-cam, this film got the shaky-cam done right, particularly at the end. The night vision on the camera made the last few minutes of the film intense and downright frightening.
Rammbock (Berlin Undead)
Like Dawn of the Dead, this movie conveyed the despair and desolation in a zombie apocalypse. Combining a romance within this zombie horror movie differentiated this movie from the crowd.
This movie was interesting in that it combined gangsters, cops and normal citizens trapped in an apartment complex trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s a volatile mix as they fight to survive that’s for certain.
Will Smith gave this movie star power, and it was good until the end. However, the conclusion was a bit underwhelming.
Danny Boyle‘s zombie horror film was quite good. This movie made no delusions that the military is no better than the zombies, and survival was dependent on the good sticking together through the bad.
Another zombie horror comedy, but this time with aliens, too!
Another zombie horror comedy, but this time with rules! And a cameo by Bill Murray!
This is perhaps the best of the Resident Evils, including both the action and CG-animated films. The CG was done well, and the action was explosive. Following the events within the video game series also helped.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the list of the top 10 modern zombie movies because I think I’m stocked and ready.
Survival. Thriller. Comedy.
Three words about a film that typically don’t go together, but in this film, it does. This movie had unbound potential to top even [REC] in depth, frights and intensity, but it remained unusually subdued.
Daniel Hendler stars as Coco, the main protagonist and husband to Pipi. Pipi, the pregnant wife, is played by Jazmin Stuart. Yayo Guirdi stars as Horacio, the paranoid man living inside the apartment complex. Federico Luppi plays Zanutto, the old soldier and main antagonist of the film.
Inside a quarantined apartment complex in Argentina, Coco and Pipi seek to survive as their neighbors become increasingly volatile. The neighbors compete for food, medicine and weapons as the world around them succumbs to a mysterious flu pandemic. Coco is forced to rely on Horacio for assistance, but soon, he realizes death changes people around him. And death is a more potent instigator than the depletion of resources.
This movie is potentially a tale of two halves. The first half of the film is very slow as the film introduces the residents of the apartment complex, their intentions and their personalities. The first half had some obvious comedic moments, but that soon dissipated. As the second half begun, however, the intensity and action increased as Zanutto posed a threat to everyone in the apartment. As the killings increased, Coco and Horacio had to rely on each other to survive. However, their survival instincts can only last so far.
Like other Spanish movies that commented on the dangers of war, this movie continuously had former President George Bush reiterate that all countries should work together in times of crisis in a speech on the television sets. However, within the apartment complex, it was a different story as each resident fought for survival. Working together lasted only so far as resources dwindle and people begin dying. As these deaths continue, both Coco and Horacio were unusually indifferent to the situation. Their indifference did not elicit any sympathy from me and removed any sympathy for them as protagonists of the film.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This movie had great potential, but it never took off the ground. It is a 6 out of 10.