Sunday, July 3, 2011

Transformers 3 - Did It Live Up To The Hype?

Not sure what to make of 'Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon' just yet. I can't help but feel like they tried to do too much this time. The first half of the movie was spent waiting for something to happen, then when it did, it was sensory overload.

Decepticon spaceships? Where'd they come from. Just a few days before the attack on Chicago the Decepticons were supposedly spread far and thin around the globe to hide from energon detectors, but they managed to build spaceships the size of Manhattan without anyone noticing?

The quirky characters and dialogue of the first two movies was just right, but in this go-round too much time was spent on building those quirky dialogues, and not enough time was spent on the Transformers that people went to the movie to see. You never even got to know who the new Autobots were, like you knew Bumble Bee, Iron Hide and Ratchet after the first.

Did anyone really go to the theaters to see Sam look for a job? Weak plotline that killed the pace of the movie.

This one was a bit darker, too. Kinda like 'Spider-Man 3' went dark for the the third installation.

Iron Hide getting whacked by Sentinel Prime?

Bumble Bee about to be executed without giving up so much as a fight?

Come on now.

On the flip side, the action was there in full (3-D) effect when it finally materialized. And Shock Wave was the epitome of Decepticon mayhem, what Megatron should have been if you saw him at all in the movie.

A little was lost with Megan Fox not being around. The Victoria Secret model that took her place was very easy on the eyes, but it's hard to ask the audience to buy into a new love interest in part three and have an emotional attachment. They might have been better off just leaving out the sappy stuff and sticking to the action.

I'll give this one another go before deciding what I think, but the pace was a bit too choppy (stagnant for long periods of the film) to call it epic - as this one should have been.

Not sure this one is as good as either of the first two....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Remember Me, Starring Emilie De Ravin, Robert Pattinson, Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper

If you haven't seen this movie yet, I'd recommend renting it, buying - do whatever you've got to do, but make sure you see it. However, don't be fooled by the cover case and previews - this movie is not a romantic comedy, not even close. In fact, romance has little, if anything, to do with the meaning behind the story.

The first indication that this was going to be a good movie was the fact that the critics slammed it. Those guys rarely get it right.

I had first heard about this movie while wifey and I weresharing conversation over Coronas in the Cabo Azul with someone who claimed to be on the production staff of the film. This guy was pretty excited about the stars that were landed for 'Remember Me,' the first 'big one' for his production company, and after finally seeing the film, I understood the excitement.

I really had no idea who Robert Pattinson was until a few weeks ago when my daughter dragged me in to see Twilight: Eclipse, and once I saw that movie I wasn't a fan of Robert, mostly because I quickly figured out that I was 'Team Jacob,' to my daughter's dismay. I just had a problem rooting for a pale-faced, blood-sucking dead guy to get the girl when she could go with the big bad wolf.

The Twilight thing swayed my opinion of Pattinson enough to where I was forty five minutes through 'Remember Me' that I could take to his character. On a side note, I think this guy is going to be typecast to the Twilight saga and he'll have a hard time landing significant roles later on down the road.

I digressed, sorry, back to the movie at hand:

While not the romantic comedy that it's been portrayed to be, romance (and tragedy) is what brings the main characters - De Ravin and Pattinson - together.

The opening scene sets the tone pretty quick - you're not sitting down for an uplifting love story, and that big question mark lasts for about twenty minutes as you try to figure out exactly where this movie is going, if it is indeed going anywhere at all.

That said, the characters are introduced and built well, so you find an instant connection with what is going on. The only problem is, there's points where you don't feel like anything is going on.

That changes quickly as the stories develop, and you start to see who's who, what's what, and what the motivating factor is for each of the characters.

Pattinson's character is fighting the continuous haunting of a family tragedy and his distant father (Brosnan) is a constant burden on himself and his little sister.

Brosnan, for his part, plays his part brilliantly. He's still the suave guy we all remember, but he's got a New York touch in this film, and he convincingly pulls it off. During his dinner scene in the movie, he even pulls off a 'Paulie Walnuts' chuckle while laughing at one of his own jokes.

Chris Cooper play's De Ravin's dad, who has never been able to get over his own family's tragedy, and he's nearly lost his daughter because of it.

As you may be able to surmise by reading this review, 'Remember Me' is about people, relationships, and how life can toss unsuspecting events into those relationships.


In other reviews, I've seen the to 'Remember Me' as a twist ending. While surprising, I didn't see it as a twist, rather a shocking event that fit right into what the movie was trying to capture.

Life and the people in our lives can prepare us for a lot, but it can't prepare us for everything; and the day you go, you don't want to go knowing that you didn't give your life - and the people in it - the best that you've got.

Sometimes it's worth a butt-chewing from the boss for missing that meeting so you can make your kid's spring concert, because when it's all said and done, no one's going to remember that dam meeting, but your kid will remember forever that you made the concert.

'Remember Me' gets it right.

Bear with the slow moments when you wonder where this one's going, because it picks up quick and wraps up brilliantly.

I'm glad I ran into that production guy down in Cabo, or I might have skipped this one thinking it was just another chick flick that I could avoid watching if I distracted wifey long enough while she walked past the Rs at the video store.

Again, if you haven't seen it yet, see it. And take it in; the characters, the story, and take away the life lessons that the movie so brilliantly captures.

Four and a half out of five VFC stars.


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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Iron Man 2, Starring Robert Downey Junior, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow

They pulled out the big guns for Iron Man 2.

Aside from Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow, two mainstays from the original, the cast of "2" throws Scarlett Johansson, Samuel Jackson and Mickey Rourke at us also.

The additional star studded cast support a flowing, action packed story line that doesn't let up for the two hour duration of the movie.

The main villain of this sequel is Ivan Vanko, a former Russian physicist, played by Rourke, who is bent on revenge - and of course Tony Stark is the target of his revenge. Rourke turns in a chillingly convincing portrayal of the tattoo-covered, gone-mad Vanko. Vanko shows up on scene with some pretty impressive homemade weaponry before creating his own army of drones with which to come after the hero, making for some impressive battle scenes during the climax of the movie.

Another one who steals the scenes in this flick is the Scarlett. Johansson turns in a seductive performance as Natasha Romanoff, also known as The Black Widow. Working with Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) of SHIELD, her alter-ego Natalie Rushman works with Tony Stark, but when it comes time to play, Scarlett dons the black suit of the Black Widow and tears up the big screen and the bad guys.

Don Cheadle chimes in as Iron Man's sidekick and Tony Stark's friend, although only after first helping himself to the metal suit, and it's also worth mentioning Jon Favreau who turns in a solid and funny performance.

Aside from battling the main villain Vanko, Stark battles his own suit that is quickly contributing to his physical demise. His pending death leads him back to the booze and dressed as Iron Man his friends can't keep him from dancing and shaking in the suit.

All in all, Iron Man 2 is a worthy follow-up to the original - especially with the additional cast members - and the Marvel storyling continues to develop as Nick Fury discusses the "Avengers Initiative" with Tony - leading us into the upcoming "Thor" movie (watch the post-credit teaser).

Great for the kids, for the whole family, and better than the original.

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