Day 147: Predators

Director: Nimród Antal
Starring: Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne and Topher Grace
Rated: R
Length: 107 min.
Release: July 9, 2010

The mercenary Royce; the military Isabelle; the Russian soldier Nikolai; the San Quentin criminal Stans; the Serra Leoa militia Mombasa; the drug lord Cuchillo; the Yakuza Hanzo; and the Doctor Edwin awake in free fall but they succeed to open their parachutes landing in a jungle. Soon they discover that they are on another planet and they are prey of aliens in a deadly hunting game, and they need to join forces to destroy their predators and survive.

My Thoughts:
Created in the spirit of the the first film, Predators is head and shoulders above Predator 2 but still falls short of living up to the original 1987 action classic. I was rather excited that this movie was going to be made. I was soooo disappointed with the last film and felt this franchise had so much more to offer. I really wanted to love this movie, and to be perfectly honest…I loved loved loved…the first half of it. But then we meet Laurence Fishburne’s character Noland…and it all goes down hill from there.

The first half was in the jungle. It reminded me of the first one, but with a fresh twist…this is not a jungle on the planet earth. The characters seemed interesting, some more than others. Adrien Brody isn’t exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger and at first it is hard to see him in this rough and tumble mercenary/military guy, but it grows on you.

Then we meet Laurence Fishburne’s character Noland. What a disappointment that was. Here we are expecting some totally awesome guy who is gonna really be an asset to this rag tag team of tough guys. Instead, it turns out he is just some overweight crazy guy that adds hardly anything to the movie. He explains some interesting back story and plot points…but it would have been better had we cared about his character more.

Then, the ending itself is rather anti climactic.

(Spoiler alert)

Having the predators be divided into two different races is an interesting idea and one with possibilities, but having the main characters depend on and decide to form an alliance with one of them?…just dumb. The first Aliens vs Predator had a similar alliance, but it made more sense as they were both fighting to keep an alien population from getting out of control. Here?…it makes less sense. Cut loose a predator and then say, “I want off this planet,” is apparently all it takes to earn enough respect and make them do our bidding. I just find the whole idea of a man and a predator joining forces to be a bit of a contrast to the spirit of the first movie. It just doesn’t fit in a predator movie.

(End spoiler alert)

That criticism aside, however, the action, the special effects and especially the predators themselves are still absolutely stellar and the ending and a few plot points aren’t so bad that they ruins the entire movie. For continuing to keep the spirit of the original alive but falling short at the finish line to provide a truly memorable climax that is worth watching Predators gets a middle of the road 3.5 stars. Its a fun watch that starts strong but falls very short near the end.


Day 141: Doom

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Starring: Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Rated: R
Length: 100 min.
Release Date: October 21, 2005

A frantic call for help from a remote research station on Mars sends a team of mercenary Marines into action. Led by ‘The Rock’ and Karl Urban, they descend into the Olduvai Research Station, where they find a legion of nightmarish creatures, lurking in the darkness, killing at will. Once there, the Marines must use an arsenal of firepower to carry out their mission; nothing gets out alive. Based on the hugely popular video game, “Doom” is an explosive action-packed thrill ride.

My Thoughts:
I must admit, this is one of the movies in my collection I am not proud to admit I own. I have a feeling I got it really really cheap on a Black Friday sale for like maybe $2.00 and since I hadn’t seen it since I saw it in theaters I had forgotten how bad it was. Two bucks blown…no doubt.

Still, this movie does have a little special place in my heart because it was the first movie I ever went to with the woman I am now married to. We went with a group of friends, and I was rather taken back that she was willing to go to what is most assuredly a “manly movie.” I think it’s safe to say my final crush started then. Anyway, enough of this sentimental mumbo jumbo…on to the movie.

Soooo…Doom. What is there to say about this movie?…It’s bad…really really bad. And if you are a fan of the game(s)…it’s even worse. Ever heard of Director Andrzej Bartkowiak? I didn’t think so. That’s because he’s not a director. Well, not a good one anyway. He’s done a respectable job in his role as cinematographer and you can see that work in such films as The Devil’s Advocate, U.S. Marshals, Falling Down and Speed. But as a director, the only other movie you are likely to have heard of is Romeo Must Die from back in 2000. It was his debue as a director and not a particularly terible film…but not exactly a great one either.

Concerning the movie Doom, perhaps the biggest problem most gamer fans have with it is how much they screwed up the monsters. In the game you are facing off against demons that are coming through a portal directly from hell. That’s a rather creepy concept if you ask me. That would have made for one scary and action packed film. Did Andrzej Bartkowiak use this creepy idea in his movie?…of course not. He abandoned this creepy and awesome idea that was already well established (minor spoiler alert) for a concept that more closely resembles that of Resident Evil. It just was not what I was hoping for when I went into this movie.

The acting is acceptable given the mediocre dialog they had to work with and the music gets the job done…but the story never really delivers a truly Doom story arch. There are moments when it kinda feels like the game, but just for a moment. One sequence that actually goes into a classic FPS (First Person Shooter) screen shot is really cool…but it’s done during one of the worst possible moments in the movie! During that whole sequence I’m thinking, “This is cool, but for this particular moment in the movie it would be better to take a step back and let us see all the action.”

All in all, it has tons of action and great special effects, but that’s really about all it has going for it. The fact that there are no “demons” from hell that you are facing off against really sucks a lot of the Doom feel right out of the film. Ultimately that takes it from a potentially decent movie adaptation of a classic video game to an absolute joke of the sci-fi, horror and/or action genres. Doom gets 1.5 stars out of 5.

Day 124: Moonraker

Lewis Gilbert
Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale & Richard Kiel
Rated: PG
Length: 126 min
Released: June 29, 1979
Trailer Synopsis:
A space shuttle called the Moonraker, built by Drax Industries, is on its way to the U.K when it is hijacked in mid-air and the crew of the 747 carrying it is killed. Bond immediately is called into action, and starts the investigation with Hugo Drax himself. While at the Drax laboratories, Bond meets the brilliant & stunning Dr. Holly Goodhead, a NASA astronaut & CIA agent who is investigating Drax for the U.S. Government. One of Drax’s thugs, the sinister Chan, attempts to kill 007 at the lab but when that fails, he follows Bond to Venice and tries again there. Bond & Goodhead follow Drax’s trail to Brazil, where they once again run into the 7′ Goliath Jaws, a towering giant with metal teeth. Escaping from him, they discover the existence of a huge space station undetected by U.S. or Soviet radar, and a horrible plot by Drax to employ nerve gas in a genocidal project! Bond & Holly must quickly find a way to stop Hugo Drax before his horrific plans can be put into effect.

My Thoughts:
Okay, I never thought I’d say this…but I’m getting soooo tired of James Bond. This is just crazy. My goodness…marathon in deed.

I also want to apologize (again) for the tardiness of some of these posts. I look like I’m a bit behind, and when it comes to the posting I am. I still don’t have the net at home (I know…I’m working on it) so it’s getting hard to do a post every day…but I’m still watching them.

With that said…thank you to all who have been following me on this journey. I’m sure you are getting tired of all these Bond films, like I am. It will soon be over…and then on to something less misogynistic perhaps? We’ll see.

So, Moonraker. The villain with a plot that winks at Hitler’s idea of the “superior” race and the dark days of eugenics in the world of science/medicine. It’s one of the more memorable Bond films with Roger Moore…and probably my least favorite. All the master race, space battles…and so on. It just doesn’t work for me. Space battles don’t belong to James Bond. I know it’s based on a book…but come on. It seemed like they were really stretching for some new exotic place to have a battle. They’ve done just about everywhere on the planet, so they just took it outside.

It kind of has a throw back feel to it, though. Some parts seem like a little wink back at the older Connery bond films that have elaborate futuristic sets and every villain seemed to have the same interior designer that was way to obsessed with “space age” technology.

On an up note…laser guns are sweet and Jaws gets a girlfriend!!! So hey…it’s not all bad. I’m giving this one 3 stars out of 5.

Day 111: Men In Black II

Men In Black II
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones
Rated: PG-13
Length: 88 Min.
Released: July 3, 2002
Trailer Synopsis:
Kay and Jay reunite to provide our best, last and only line of defense against a sinister seductress who levels the toughest challenge yet to the MIBs untarnished mission statement: protecting the earth from the scum of the universe. It’s been four years since the alien-seeking agents averted an intergalactic disaster of epic proportions. And now it’s a race against the clock as Jay must convince Kay-who not only has absolutely no memory of his time spent with the Men In Black, but is also the only living person left with the expertise to save the galaxy-to reunite with the MIB before the earth submits to ultimate destruction.

My Thoughts:
I was anticipating this movie so much when it came out. I went in with such hight hopes that it would deliver just like the first one. As it turns out, it has everything the first film had…and that’s it’s problem. This movie had such great potential but just couldn’t deliver an original idea. It literally had all the same jokes, plot points and so on. It was really sad.

The comedic chemistry between Jones and Smith also had some issues. They just didn’t have it in this one. I think part of the reason is because the mentor/mentee dynamic was all out of wack through most of the film. It just wasn’t the same witty humor from the last one. First Jay is “in charge” as Kay has no memory for half the film and then when he gets it back there is this strange power struggle issue about who’s in charge. It made for a couple half way good jokes, but most of the jokes didn’t work as well because of that strange dynamic.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the villain. She had potential, but that was all. It wasn’t the perfect blend of “The Bug” in the first film.

Another thing I hate is when a trailer uses all the best material from the movie…especially jokes!!! If you haven’t seen the trailer yet…don’t. Yes, I know I put a link up for those who just “have to” watch it. However, I have a feeling the movie will be FAR better without the jokes being ruined by the trailer.

Just about the only thing it this that was a real “treat” to watch was Frank the dog. Sure, his jokes seemed a bit juvenile at times, but with that adorable dog dropping those lines and taking on the role of an “agent” it totally worked. It was a lot of fun to see him get a more prominent role.

Still, it was an entertaining movie. Not as good as the other one, but still okay. There is a third film being worked on right now that will be in 3D and released in 2012. Rumor has it the plot will deal with time travel. Seeing as how I’m a sucker for time travel plots I can’t help but be a little excited. Lets hope they learned from MIB II and give us something more original. This one is getting 3 stars out of 5.

Day 110: Men In Black

Men In Black
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones & Will Smith
Rated: PG-13
Length: 98 min.
Released: July 2, 1997
Trailer Synopsis:
Men in Black follows the exploits of agents Kay and Jay, members of a top-secret organization established to monitor and police alien activity on Earth. The two Men in Black find themselves in the middle of the deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. In order to prevent worlds from colliding, the MiB must track down the terrorist and prevent the destruction of Earth. It’s just another typical day for the Men in Black.

My Thoughts:
When I saw this movie in the theaters I had no idea what it was about. Come to think of it…this was the first movie I ever went to see in the theaters without knowing a thing about it. I don’t do that very often. I was glad I did with this one. It turned out to be my favorite movie all year. I saw it three times in the theater that year, and had it on VHS and watched it over and over. To this day I can still quote most of the movie.

This movie just works on so many levels. It’s highly entertaining, great special effects, action, story/plot and the actors were cast perfectly. Jones and Smith have perfect comedic chemistry. Their mentor/protege  relationship is so much fun to watch. But all of that wouldn’t work nearly as well without a great villain…which they have. The villain in this film is the perfect blend of creepy, discussing, intimidating and hilarious. The whole film has a great balance of action, menace and  comedy, but the best example of that is seen when watching “The Bug.”

This film has also aged well too. Now over a decade old, it’s still a highly entertaining action comedy. You can probably guess I’m giving this one 5 stars out of 5. More accurately I’d like to call it a 5 star popcorn flick. It’s just such a fun movie to watch. Tomorrow is Men In Black II…

P.S. On a side note, who could forget the hit song and music video of Will Smith’s Men In Black song!!! LOL It’s such a classic 90s hit!!!

Day 78: Muppets from Space

Muppets from Space
Director: Tim Hill
Starring: Jeffrey Tambor, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Rob Schneider, Andie MacDowell, Kathy Griffin & Josh Charles
Rated: G
Length: 87 min.
Released: July 14, 1999
Trailer Synopsis:
When adopted Gonzo and his rat pal Rizzo embarks on a quest to find Gonzo’s real family, Gonzo discovers that his long-lost relatives are actually aliens from a distant planet. After announcing to the world on Miss Piggy’s talk show, “UFO Mania,” that he plans to find his family and prove once and for all that life on other planets exists, he becomes the target of the evil paranoid government operative K. Edgar Singer. After a daring escape from the Singer compound, Gonzo tracks down his mother’s ship and faces the most difficult question of his life: does he climb aboard and joined the family he has always wanted or does he stay on Earth with the family and friends that he has always known and loved?

My Thoughts:
By far, one of the best Muppet movies ever made! Excellent story with a fantastic array of hilarious pop culture one liners. Plain and simple it’s comedic genius all the way through.

I always thought it would be fun to address Gonzo’s “whatever-ness.” He’s an alien…of course!!!

Just watch it…that’s all I got to say. If you are even remotely a Muppets fan you won’t be disappointed.

5 stars out of 5!!!

Day 77: The Chronicles of Riddick: The Director’s Cut

The Chronicles of Riddick: The Director’s Cut
Directed by:
David Twohy
tarring: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Alexa Davalos & Keith David
Rated: NR (Theatrical PG-13)
Length: 134 min.
Theatrical Release: June 11, 2004
Trailer Synopsis:
Five years ago… Escaped convict Richard B. Riddick escaped from a desert planet with his two companions, religious man Imam and runaway teenage girl Jack. After five years wandering across the outskirts of the galaxy and being hunted by bounty hunters calming the bounty on his head, Riddick arrives on the colonized planet New Mecca, he learns Imam placed the bounty on his head and Jack has been imprisoned on the prison planet “Crematoria” for murder. Riddick learns from Aereon, ambassador of the Elemental race is seeking out Furians, a race of warriors in a bid to balance the universe, as a warrior army known as The Necromongers led by the evil undead Lord Marshal are invading every planet in the galaxy and cleansing all of humanity in their goal for universal conquest. Beliving Riddick is a Furian warrior, Aereon decides to hire Riddick believing he is the one man who can stop The Lord Marshal and the Necromongers. When the Necromongers attacks New Mecca, Riddick is captured by cocky bounty hunter Toombs and his crew and he is transported to Crematoria, where he reunites with Jack now named ‘Kyra’, where Riddick and Kyra escapes to the planet’s sun ravaged surface, where Riddick helped by Necromonger warrior Vakko and his sexy wife Dame Vakko, sets out to defeat the Lord Marshal and save the universe from the Lord Marshal’s rule and save the rest of humanity from being converted into Nercomonger warriors.

My Thoughts:
WAY different from Pitch Black…way different. It’s a straight up sci-fi action flick. Not a scary horror/monster flick at all.

It is weird though. It almost comes across as some kind of artistic sci-fi critique of the Crusades…or perhaps extreme Islam or some other crazy violent religious movement. It was a bit off-putting…I’m not going to lie.

This one is really the kind of movie you have to see for yourself and make up your mind. It’s hard to really explain it all…the good and the bad. I’m giving it 3 stars out of 5.