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Double Review: Interstellar and Big Hero 6

posters for Interstellar and Big Hero 6

Last week was a big one: both Interstellar and Big Hero 6 on the same day. This week: not so much. I was on vacation last week but have since seen both movies and found them worthy of talking about, so… double review time!

Interstellar
In a last-ditch attempt to escape a dying earth, an ex shuttle pilot leads a mission through a wormhole to find a suitable colony world.

Big Hero 6
A teenage robotics genius teams up with his dead brother’s friends and a health care robot to bring down the villain who ruined his life.

You really can’t go wrong with either as long as you’re in the target audience. Those who don’t like science might be bored by three whole hours of Interstellar‘s space rambling while grown-ups who don’t retain much of their inner child might find the bombastic action of Big Hero 6 silly and forgettable.

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Into the Storm Review

poster from the Warner Bros. film Into the Storm

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out this weekend, but I decided not to pay Michael Bay to retroactively ruin my childhood. I didn’t completely forego 90s nostalgia, though. I chose Into the Storm, a tornado movie that I hoped would re-create the ‘wow’ factor from my first viewing of Twister.

A high school vice principal and his videographer son tag along with a team of tornado chasers in order to rescue his other son from a tornado-demolished factory.

Armchair storm chasing is one of my family’s favorite hobbies. Everybody who was in town turned out for this movie, even though it wasn’t all that popular among regular folks. Into the Storm was no Twister. Take out the tornados and it would be terrible. But you can’t take out the tornados, because it’s a tornado movie. So it’s still pretty awesome.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy

I don’t read many superhero comic books, so before they started brewing up this movie, I’d never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy. I do watch science fiction films though, so even if this hadn’t been a Marvel movie I’d still have gone on opening night. Because spaceships! Handsome smugglers! Gun-toting raccoons!

A thief, an assassin, a revenge-obsessed father, a genetically modified raccoon, and a huge talking plant join forces to keep a world-ending weapon out of the hands of terrorists.

Guardians of the Galaxy is similar to The Avengers in that it involves a bunch of smartasses with diverse skills reluctantly teaming up to stop evildoers. The big difference for me was that while The Avengers was almost all infighting, actual plot actually happens in Guardians of the Galaxy, which makes it the better movie.

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Planes: Fire and Rescue Review

poster from the Disney film Planes Fire and Rescue

To people who are not me, this would be another lean week for movies. However, since I automatically line up for all movies concerning airplanes and/or firefighting, I was excited for this weekend. I thought the only problem with Planes was its resemblance (story-wise) to Cars, so this time, with firefighting planes, it had to be different. Right?

After a gearbox failure a racing airplane trains as a firefighter in order to help save his hometown.

As a pure Disney effort rather than a Disney-Pixar film, Planes: Fire and Rescue is pretty good. The characters are cute, there are scenes of exciting action, and a handful of jokes that made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately Fire and Rescue lacked heart, which means that by next week I’ll probably have forgotten all about it.

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Trailer Reviews for July 18, 2014

SEX TAPE



While I have to give this movie credit for acknowledging that there’s never just one copy of a thing in the digital age (something action movies like Skyfall and Jack Ryan have yet to clue into) it’s still pretty dumb. Why are these people flailing across the nation thinking they can get every copy back? THIS IS DIGITAL. THERE ARE INFINITE COPIES. YOU WILL NEVER GET THEM ALL. They would have done better to explore the comedy inherent in the two of them becoming overnight internet porn celebrities.

THE PURGE: ANARCHY



What is it, stupid premise day? Horror movies get a certain amount of leeway as far as believability goes, but this one pushes the envelope right over a cliff. National legal crime day is not only stupid (who would live in a country where everyone was allowed to kill them? And who wants to rebuild their entire nation every year after the criminals destroy it?) but it wouldn’t work. Criminals would not wait 364 days to get revenge if someone pissed them off the day after the purge. Also, how dumb are those two who decided to go for a drive just before the purge started?

PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE



I know Planes didn’t go over well with anyone other than me, but this is a cool idea for a movie. Firefighting AND planes! Firefighting planes! I’m even willing to overlook the fact that Dusty is way too small of a plane to be much help in fighting forest fires. I mean, how much water could he hold in his tank? And how would he scoop it up? Poor Dusty doesn’t look like he could put out a campfire. But he’s still a plane that fights fires so I’ll see it.

BOYHOOD



I think it’s a cool idea to make a movie where the kid grows up on screen, and it looks like a good movie, but it’s kind of like a Guinness record attempt – the only reason to do it is for the pleasure of knowing you’re the only one who has. It just seems like 11 extra years of work when you could have made a good movie in a year by hiring a herd of brothers who all look alike or something.

SNOWPIERCER



I guess this is what you do when you want to make a post-apocalyptic action movie on a small budget. Set it on a train. It looks okay, but it does seem a little silly. I mean, their whole goal is to get to the front of the train. When they get there, they’ll still be on a train.

WISH I WAS HERE



It looks okay I guess. I remember liking Garden State many moons ago so I’d probably like this one as well. There just wasn’t anything in the trailer that really jumped out at me and made me say “Yes! This one! I want to see this one!” All I got was a vague sense of puzzlement… was that a hovering robot??

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DVDs for June 10, 2014

jack ryan

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

This is the first Jack Ryan movie not based on any of Tom Clancey’s novels, and it shows. It’s a lot less politically sophisticated than the previous Jack Ryan films and a lot more confused in terms of who the Jack Ryan character is and what he can do. Though the filmmakers have tried to update the series by bringing it into the present day, it still feels like a Cold War movie, mostly because the Russians are the bad guys and digital data is treated like hard copy. Rent it if you’re looking for a generic action movie or check out my full review.

Buy Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

nonstop

Non-Stop

Speaking of generic movies, Non-Stop, a generic thriller about a sky marshall trapped on a plane with a terrorist, also releases this week. It’s a good premise for a contained space thriller, but they ruined it by spending most of the movie texting and by having everyone think that the hero was the villain, which made the plot seem convoluted. If you’re looking at Liam Neeson’s picture on the box and thinking it will be like Taken, think again. There’s only one good fist fight in the whole movie. Read my review for more.

Buy Non-Stop on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

cosmos

Cosmos

Judging from the amount of pseudoscientific bullsh** and outright lies being shared by people on my Facebook news feed, a lot more people need to watch this documentary series. It does for physics, astronomy, and ecology what BBC’s Planet Earth did for geography and biology – it makes you want to hear about science. Whether you failed every science class in school or you’re a Popular Science subscriber, TV presenter/real actual scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has something new to say to you. And it looks pretty. Check it out.

Buy Cosmos on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

devils knot

Devil’s Knot

And now for a non-generic thriller: Devil’s Knot is based on the true story of a trio of teens accused of murdering three little boys as part of a satanic ritual. The film delves into the horror of the murders as well as the controversial aspects of the case, raising the question of whether the teens really killed anyone or if the town is just out to get them for being weird. If you’ve seen the documentaries the film probably won’t offer anything new, but if you’re coming to it fresh you’ll find it really interesting. Check it out.

Buy Devil’s Knot on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film Captain America Winter Soldier

Marvel has effectively put us on a money treadmill. All of their movies (and now the TV show) interlock, so if you miss one, you miss the clues that lead in to the next one. The best part for Marvel is that no one wants to get off the treadmill. Not even me, and I’m the one cynically pointing out that we’re running in place. The latest mile we’re paying for is Captain America: Winter Soldier.

A patriotic superhero from the 1940s struggles to adjust to modern anti-terror tactics while facing off against an enemy from his past.

I was really looking forward to the Winter Soldier aspect of this movie, so when I watched it and discovered that a more accurate title would have been Captain America and a Bunch of Crap About SHIELD, I was disappointed. If you’re dying to see more Nick Fury, maybe you’ll like it better than I did.

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Non-Stop Review

poster from the Universal Pictures film Non-Stop

It was another underwhelming week for movies. There was only a generic looking thriller (Non-Stop) or a rehashed literal interpretation of the bible (Son of God) to choose from. And while I did promise to see more bad movies this year, I have to draw the line at the smirking Jesus movie. So I ended up at yet another Liam Neeson throat-chopping extravaganza.


It’s up to a lone air marshal to stop a hijacker who has threatened to kill someone every 20 minutes on a transatlantic flight.

Once again it was Liam Neeson vs the World, but because it was a contained space thriller with a (relatively) limited cast, there was a lot more texting than throat chopping. Which is a shame, because the only reason to go to these movies is to watch a (somehow still hot) Liam Neeson beat the snot out of bad guys.

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Trailer Reviews for February 21, 2014

POMPEII



I’ve been looking out for this movie ever since my brother told me about how he filled in for one of their sound guys. Of course I’ll go see it, but I’m not sure I would have been so eager if it weren’t for the brother factor. It’s like Gladiator crossed with Dante’s Peak – both are movies I like, but I probably wouldn’t put them together. I worry this movie is just an excuse to spend a billion dollars on 3D volcano eruptions.

THE WIND RISES



I’m not a fan of Japanese animation, with its punches that last a year and the flashing backgrounds that threaten to give me seizures. One of my cousins insisted I would like Miyazaki’s films anyway, but I didn’t believe him. Eventually I got around to watching Howl’s Moving Castle and had to admit that my cousin was right. I’ll see this one too, even though the trailer spends too much time praising the director to convey much of the plot. All I got out of it is ‘Harry Potter likes airplanes.’

3 DAYS TO KILL



When I saw the name of this film, I assumed it would star Jason Statham. Imagine my surprise when I saw Kevin Costner on the screen. Kevin Costner? When did he decide he was going to be an old-guy action hero like Liam Neeson? First Shadow Recruit, now this. This movie looks every bit as dumb as a Statham or Neeson flick, so I guess he’s doing it right. The goofy pesudo-medical ticking clock from Cranked combined with the teenage daughter drama of Taken. “Hang on, sweetie. Daddy just has to go punch the spare tire for a second.” No thanks.

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DVDs for November 19, 2013

planes

Planes

“Happy almost birthday, Kat! To make up for all the Twilight I’ve given you the past 4 years, here’s some planes!” – Love, The Universe. Yes, I know that Planes is essentially just a mashup of Cars 1 and Cars 2 but with planes, but I DON’T CARE. Cute planes race against other cute planes and there’s a cameo by Iceman and Goose as little fighter planes with eyeballs. And an aircraft carrier wears a hat. What more could you possibly want from a children’s movie ?? Check out my full review for more of me gushing over vehicles in hats.

Buy Planes on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

worlds end

The World’s End

I love the Pegg/Frost/Wright trio, but this movie was kind of a letdown. The story follows a group of guys who meet up (even though most of them don’t want to) to finish a pub crawl they didn’t get through as high schoolers. And their town is taken over by robot aliens in a Stepford Wives crossed with Bodysnatchers way. There seemed to be more arguing and fighting than jokes and the ending was a total downer (I guess I should have expected that, with a title like The World’s End), so I’d rate it as my least favorite of theirs, but still better than most comedies. Read my review for more.

Buy The World’s End on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

paranoia

Paranoia

This movie does have a point about how hard it is for young people to make their way in the workplace these days but does not do a good job in getting us to sympathize with Liam Hemsworth, mostly because he’s a little selfish, a little whiny, and his ideas aren’t nearly as revolutionary as he likes to think… and neither are the trade secrets he’s trying to steal from his boss’s rivalswhile undercover as a rich dude. It’s not very thrilling or surprising, so if you’re looking for a movie about industrial espionage I recommend Cypher instead. Read my full review for more.

Buy Paranoia on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

2 guns

2 Guns

Just in case you haven’t seen enough buddy cop movies, here are Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in another one. Denzel is a DEA agent and Mark is Army Intelligence (for some reason) and neither knows who the other is until everyone else in the world decides to kill them and they have zero other people to turn to for help in taking down their targeted cartel. I mock, but I actually liked 2 Guns. It was mildly comedic (not as funny as The Other Guys but not as depressing as Savages) and the action sequences were unique enough to make me take notice. Check it out.

Buy 2 Guns on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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