Category Archives: Drama

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome (2012) Movie Review

With both the Battlestar Galactica and Caprica television series in their graves, a 10-episode online series called Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was created — and essentially became a movie.  Does it compare with some of the other Battlestar Galactica movies such as Razor or The Plan?

Cast

Young ensign William Adama is played by Luke Pasqualino.  Coker Fasjovik, the unlucky Raptor co-pilot, is played by Ben Cotton.  Dr. Becca Kelly is played by Lili Bordan. Tech Sargeant Xander Toth is played by John Pyper-Ferguson, otherwise known as Stanton Parish in Alphas television series and Wyatt Scott in the Deception television series.

Review

This movie was filmed much the same as the Battlestar Galactica television series.  The chemistry between William Adama and Dr. Becca Kelly was a bit overplayed, but it was acceptable in this film in terms of the plot. Coker Fasjovik and John Pyper-Ferguson both played their parts exceptionally well.  The development of the first Cylon-human hybrid was particularly interesting.  This film did bridge the gap between the Caprica television series and the Battlestar Galactica television series. However, this film felt stiff in a lot of instances.

Verdict (Out of 10)

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome deserves an 8.2 out of 10.  It is a solid film although quite predictable.  In light of the other Battlestar Galactica films, this is certainly the best of all three.  This film is not self-ingratiating like the others and has significantly more action.  However, SyFy won’t develop a new television series off this film much to the disappointment of science fans, including myself.  But we can dream a science fiction dream…

Genesis (1998) Movie Review

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, this eerie and romantic Italian short movie directed by Nacho Cerda is certainly worth watching.  With virtually no speech, Spanish or otherwise, Genesis (1998) can be watched by anyone.

Cast

The entire cast consisted of two people: Pep Tosar who played the sculptor, and his wife is played by Trae Houlihan.

Plot

After the death of his wife in a car accident, the artist decides to build a sculpture of her likeness.  However, the sculpture starts taking a life of its own.

Review

Genesis resembled a Tales from the Crypt episode in that it only lasted thirty minutes, but in those thirty minutes, even with very little speech, the story and the cinematography carried the film.  This is an eerie film as the sculpture contends with the memory of her dead wife and the sculpture’s life.   As the sculpture took on a life of its own, his memories flooded back, and his love for her remained stronger than ever.  This movie was a romance trapped in an eerie horror film.

(On a side note, Genesis won deservedly the Best Short Film of 1998 in the Fant-Asia Film Festival and in 1999 in the Malaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema.)

Verdict (Out of 10)

This short Spanish movie deserves a 8.2 out of 10 for its artistry and cinematography.  Although the story is a tad derivative, the cinematography carried the film as it was a work of art within itself.  This movie is certainly worth watching on Valentine’s Day for its romantic bent.

The Veteran Movie Review

Returning from Afghanistan, a British soldier returns to London only to find himself in yet another war. This time, the war lies on the streets of London, his streets.  The Veteran is reminiscent of Harry Brown, another dark movie about war.  Sometimes when one stares into the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back…

Cast

Toby Kebell stars as Robert Miller, the soldier returning from Afghanistan.  Tony Curran stars as Chris Turner, his friend and ex-soldier as well.  Danny Turner, Chris‘ brother, is played by Tom Brooke. Gerry, the head of the intelligence organization outside of the CIA and FBI, is played by Brian Cox.  Ivanno Jeremiah stars as Fahad Sahal, Robert’s close friend.  Alayna Wallace, the female informant, is played by Adi Bielski.  Ashley Bashy Thomas stars as Tyrone Jones, the drug kingpin of the Estate, an apartment complex in London. Ryan Sahal, Fahad’s son and Tyrone’s confidant, is played by Eboseta Ayemere.

Plot

Upon returning home from Afghanistan, Robert Miller finds his way home to the Estate.  At the Estate, however, drugs and guns run rampant in the apartment complex as Tyrone Jones leads the gang of thugs.  Miller is recruited by an intelligence agency to rescue an informant, but he uncovers something much deeper.  Through his military experience, he battles the onslaught on all sides on the streets of London.

Review

The Veteran is a very stark and violent film.  It can be compared to Harry Brown in that they both deal with military veterans adjusting to civilian life in the only way they know how, the use of guns.  This film has a lot more drama than blood and violence than depicted in the trailer, and all the actors were well-selected for their roles.  The buildup of drama only leads to a violent and tragic ending (not with much blood however).

Verdict (Out of 10)

This film deserves a 7.5 out of 10 in my honest opinion.  It is a solid movie and worth a watch.

My Top 10 Alien Apocalypse Movies

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.


Independence Day

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.


Starship Troopers

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.


Aliens

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.


Predator

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.


Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

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.


The Thing

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.


Transformers

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.


Cloverfield

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.


Monsters

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…

Real Steel Movie Review

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.

Cast

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.

Plot

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.

Review

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.)

Verdict

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.

Warrior Movie Review

With the rise in popularity of mixed martial arts and the unfortunate decline in boxing, more movies about mixed martial arts have come onto the scene.  This is one of them.  Although Warrior is touted as the Rocky of mixed martial arts, this movie does have its moments and then none.

Cast

The movie stars Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon, a former UFC fighter turned physics teacher.  Tommy Conlon, his brother who served in Iraq, is played by Tom Hardy.  Nick Nolte plays Paddy Conlon, his drunk father who taught them both wrestling and mixed martial  arts when they were younger. Jennifer Morrison stars as Tess Conlon, Brendan’s wife. Kevin Dunn plays Principal Zito, the principal of Brendan’s school. Frank Grillo stars as Frank Campana, Brendan’s trainer. Kurt Angle plays Koba, the undefeated Russian mixed martial arts fighter.

Plot

The youngest son, Tommy Conlon, returns home to Philadelphia to train with his father in the much-touted Sparta mixed martial arts tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  In the meantime, his older brother, Brendan Conlon, prepares for the same after confronting the bank who would take his house away after missing mortgage payments.  After they both go their separate ways to train, the two brothers ultimately confront each other.  They deal with lots of familial baggage inside and outside of the tournament.  Both brothers have something to lose and a lot to gain from winning the Sparta tournament.  Meanwhile, Koba poses a major threat to both as they climb the ranks of the tournament ladder.

Review

As most sites compared this movie to Rocky, this movie didn’t quite grab me like Rocky did. This movie’s titular characters, Brendan and Tommy Conlon, lacked charisma in my frank opinion.  True, both had something to lose, but it didn’t come to fruition as well as expected.  The disparity between the brothers and their father lacked that emotional touch. The Fighter had a better portrayal of familial bonding than this movie.  Although the ending was like Rocky, as Brendan, the no-name underdog of the Sparta tournament, defeated trained fighters, I felt like I was cheering for fluff.

Verdict (Out of 10)

Overall, this movie was slightly above-average.  For me, this movie deserves a 7.5 out of 10.

Preview for the Upcoming Movies in 2012

There are some good upcoming movies in 2012, but the movie industry seems to be doing lots of prequels and sequels to previous movies.  However, some are original somewhat and others are simply derivative.  With the economy still tight, perhaps a movie with an established audience lends itself to the same audience…or not.

Fairy Tales Retold

Jack the Giant Killer.  This movie is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, and the  preview of the movie looks fairly decent.  With Bryan Singer as the director, this movie deems to be a satisfying action-adventure minimally.  It stars Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor.

Mirror, Mirror.  This is the first of two films that are retelling the Snow White fable.  From the preview, it’s a bit folksy, but it does have star power.  This movie is directed by Tarsem Singh who also directed the Immortals.  This drama stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer.

Snow White and the Huntsman.  And this is the second film that retells the Snow White fable.  This one seems to be the grittier and have better special effects.  Rupert Sanders is the movie’s director.  This movie stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.

Heroes: Sequels and Prequels

The Dark Knight Rises. This movie is the conclusion to director Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy.  With both Bane and Catwoman to contend with, this last part of the trilogy seemingly will go out with a bang.  Christian Bale will reprise his role as Batman for one last time, and it stars Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine among the list of actors.  This movie should be the big summer box office hit.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  This movie is the prequel to the director Peter Jackson’s lengthy Lord of the Rings trilogy, and this is the first part of the two-part prequel.  Again, Peter Jackson will direct both parts, and again, he brings back most of the cast of the previous trilogy.  This movie will star Cate Blanchett, Luke Evans, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan and others once again.  This movie should become winter’s big box office hit.

Men in Black 3. This movie is the sequel to the previous box office hits, and this movie should serve as the appetizer to The Dark Knight Rises.  Again, Barry Sonnenfeld is the director as he was the previous two.  And again, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will reprise their roles as agents for the Men in Black.  This movie should get above-average box office numbers.

Marvel’s The Avengers.  This movie is technically the sequel to Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Incredible Hulk and Thor, and it is also its own movie series perhaps in the future.  This movie is directed by Joss Whedon.  Again, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans will reprise their roles as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America respectively.  However, there will be a new Hulk and an even newer Hawkeye.  They will be played by Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner respectively.

Expendables 2. This movie is the sequel to the original action hit The Expendables. This movie is directed by Simon West.  And again, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Jet Li.  Some significant former action stars will join this movie as well.  Arnold Schwartzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris to name three. This movie should be a solid action hit.

Underworld: Awakening.  Underworld resurfaces, and it will show in the United States in mid-January.  This movie is directed by Mars Marlind and Bjorn Stein.  Kate Beckinsale reprises her role as Selene.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  The movie is the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra from 2009.  This movie is directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Channing Tatum will reprise his role as Captain Duke Hauser.  From the trailer, the special effects are revisited, and the movie seems very pulpy.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. This movie is the sequel to Ghost Rider from 2007.  The directors of the movie are Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.  Again, Nicholas Cage will reprise his role as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider.  With the campiness of Cage’s recent films, I can expect no better from this one.

Reboots

The Three Stooges.  This is a reboot sort of.  Despite all the new Stooges, it seems to pay homage to the original Three Stooges pretty well.  The directors are Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly.  Chris Diamantopulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso will play Moe, Larry and Curly respectively. At best, this movie may be a cult comedy, and at worst, it will be a cult stoner film.

21 Jump Street. This movie is a reboot of the television series of the same name from 1987.  The directors of this film are Phil Lord and Chris Miller. This movie stars Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube and Johnny Depp.  This movie doesn’t look too good, but ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

With the possibilities of medicine today, we still have yet to find cures for some of the common diseases of our decade.  But what if there lies medicine to cure Alzheimer’s disease or AD?  This movie explored that possibility but not without its ethical implications and restraints.  What began as a simple evolution of a chimpanzee from the jungles of Africa expands into the development of an ape culture and ultimately, an ape uprising against the humans in San Francisco.

Cast

The cast consists of both humans and apes (derived from CGI and special effects).  Beginning with the humans, James Franco stars as Will Rodman, the lead scientist who raises the chimpanzee Ceasar after his mother’s, Bright Eyes’, unfortunate death at Gen-Sys Laboratories.  He played Harry Osborn in the Spiderman trilogy. John Lithgow stars as his father, Charles Rodman, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  Freida Pinto stars as Will’s love interest, primatologist Caroline Aranha. David Oyelowo plays as CEO of Gen-Sys and Will’s boss, Steven Jacobs. For those familiar with the television series Spooks in the UK, he played MI-5 officer Danny Hunter. David Hewlett stars as Hunsiker, Will’s hot-headed and very spiteful neighbor. For those familiar with the television series Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, he starred as Rodney McKay. Tyler Labine plays as the primary chimp handler for Gen-Sys, Robert Franklin.  He starred as Bert “Sock” Wysocki in the short-lived cult television series Reaper. Brian Cox plays John Landon, the head of the primate sanctuary and father of Dodge Landon.  He should be immediately familiar as Colonel William Stryker in X2: X-Men United.  His son, Dodge, is played by Tom Felton, and Jamie Harris plays Rodney.  Both of them are the guards (in the loosest sense) of the primate sanctuary.

Now to the primates of the film, the stars of this science fiction film.  Andy Serkis plays Ceasar, the intelligent chimpanzee that ultimately learns to “speak” and commands the primate army.  Karin Konoval stars as Maurice, the Bornean orangutan and Caesar’s closest ally.  Terry Notary stars as  both Bright Eyes, Ceasar’s mother, and Rocket, the alpha chimpanzee at the sanctuary. Richard Ridings stars as Buck, the western lowland gorilla.  Lastly, Christopher Gordon plays Koba, the scar-faced bonobo.

Plot

With the advent of ALZ-112 testing, Will Franco discovers that ALZ-112, a virus, speeds up rebuilding of brain cells and thus a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  However, it has different effects on humans and the primates.  With humans, the benefits are short-lived and ultimately fatal.  However, with chimpanzees and primates, it sped up their intelligence.  Bright Eyes, Caesar’s mother, was the first to benefit as she developed intelligence to conquer the Tower of Hanoi test given by Will.  Due to a bit of misunderstanding by the handlers at Gen-Sys, she ultimately dies protecting her baby, Caesar.  Caesar inherits the intelligence and the ALZ-112 from her mother,  and within a span of several years demonstrates intelligence beyond that of a “comparable human.”  Caesar ultimately confronts his own kind and develops a kinship among them. He distributes ALZ-113 among the primates within the sanctuary and thus most of them gaining s0me degree of intelligence as a result.   By his revolution against the humans, he frees Koba, a bonobo that was tested with ALZ-113.  He, Koba, Maurice, Rocket and Buck ultimately attack the humanity in search of freedom, their freedom.

Review

Admittedly, this is a science fiction film so it is not without its suspension of belief.  Throughout the film, there were high degrees of exaggeration.  The abuse at the primate sanctuary is a bit overdone and wouldn’t satisfy supporters of PETA and animal welfare.  But it made the point that humans are perhaps more primal than animals.   The testing of ALZ-112 and ALZ-113 by Gen-Sys with little disregard begs the question of human ethics.  Are humans that driven for self-preservation that it would take significant losses to get there?  The police response by the humans against the primates reflect the same question.

Throughout the film, Caesar demonstrated more humanity than his human counterparts, even during his rebellion.  His humanity made viewers, including myself, more attached to him than to the Rodmans or Caroline Aranha.

There were hints and suggestions of a sequel throughout the film and some nods of previous Planet of the Apes movie series.  These suggestions for the most part were subtle (somewhat), and they didn’t distract from the film.  This prequel and original movie within the Planet of the Apes saga had great impact to me and other viewers.

Verdict (Out of 10)

This movie deserves a solid 8.5 out of 10 for me.  The plot holes were significant in this movie.  However, this movie played great homage to its past and revised the story to a satisfying degree.   Andy Serkis, the actor who played Caesar, has confirmed there is a sequel in the works, and this film deserves one.  Next time perhaps a more concise and fleshed-out story with less plot holes…

Limitless Movie Review

What would you do?

The potential to unleash the human brain in a simple, little pill.

Ecstasy without the stupidity you can swallow in one gulp that can change who you are, an enhanced version of what you are.  This is what dreams are made of, the American Dream is made of. (The Japanese Dream is made of this as well, but that’s another discussion for another time.)

This movie is based on the book The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, and it is now known as Limitless.  This is book is available for Amazon and Kindle as well.  However, this review is not of the book or e-book but rather of the movie.

Cast

Bradley Cooper, of the recent remake A-Team fame, stars as Edward “Eddie” Mora, an inspiring author but becomes much more.  Abbie Cornish, of Sucker Punch fame, stars as Lindy, his girlfriend.  Johnny Whitworth plays Vernon Gant, the brother of his ex-wife, Melissa Gant.  Anna Friel stars as Melissa Gant.  Robert De Niro stars as Carl Van Loon, a powerful and power-hungry businessman.  Tomas Arana plays the Man in the Tan Coat. Richard Bekins stars as Hank Atwood, Carl Van Loon’s rival and the Man in the Tan Coat’s employer.  Andrew Howard stars as Gannady, the Russian loan shark.  Brian Anthony Wilson plays the Detective throughout this movie.

Plot

An unemployed writer, Eddie Mora, is dumped by his girlfriend, Lindy, due to his inability to complete a book.  However, when he is introduced to NZT-48, a designer pharmaceutical designed to use 100 percent of the human brain instead of the usual 20 percent, Eddie Mora changes and grants him exceptional ability to calculate and manipulate the world around him.  He is granted charisma that he never had.  He is granted intelligence that he never had.  And with both, he becomes a better man until he is found a suspect of murder of a super model.  He is exploited by Carl Van Loon and chased by hit-men who want the stolen NZT soon after.  Addiction of NZT and its price bears its ugly head to those who have taken it, and cataclysmic events fall upon each other until the end.

Review

Limitless was a surprisingly captivating movie for the most part.  The movie itself simulated the effects of NZT as some shots move extremely quickly.  When Lindy took the drug eventually, the movie showed how she calculated her means of escape.  This movie reminded me of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in that the movie was specifically made for the modern public, the modern ADD-driven public.  The drama is fast-moving as well — until the middle.  When the discussion of the malignant effects of NZT, the movie went into neutral for a while and almost lost my interest.

This movie asks a lot of questions about addiction and the price of superior intellect and stardom.  It was Requiem for a Dream minus the bleak outlook on life.  This movie was deep without being grandiose about it.

Verdict (Out of 10)

This movie was a solid 9 for me.  This movie would be perfect for a good philosophical discussion about society and its needs and wants.  In this modern world where intelligence, charisma and speed (e.g., multi-tasking) are of the essence, this movie begs the questions as to the price of these valued personal assets — the physical and social price.  Some college students, particularly Ivy League students, can relate to this as they take uppers and Red Bull to keep awake as they seek better grades than their peers.  NZT would be much the same and perhaps be abused just as much.

This movie has convinced me to read the book Limitless as well.  It leaves a significant impact on the viewer.  It is that good.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 637 other followers