Archive for August 14, 2010

Legion

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) falls to Earth in Los Angeles, cuts off his wings, and raids a Korean imports store for a cache of automatic weapons. Confronted by two LAPD officers, one becomes possessed and kills the other. Michael kills the possessed cop and steals his car.

At a roadside diner and garage near the edge of the Mojave Desert are the diner’s owner, Bob Hanson (Dennis Quaid), his son Jeep (Lucas Black), the short-order cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton) and a pregnant waitress, Charlie (Adrianne Palicki). Also present is a single father on his way to L.A., Kyle (Tyrese Gibson); an urban married couple, Howard and Sandra Anderson (Jon Tenney and Kate Walsh); and their rebellious and promiscuous teenage daughter, Audrey (Willa Holland).

Soon after, an old woman (Jeanette Miller) arrives and seems pleasant at first, but then begins taunting the diner’s patrons. When Howard tries to reason with her, she rips part of his throat open and climbs up the ceiling like an insect, hisses, revealing she is possessed. Kyle shoots and kills her with a pistol that he was hiding. They try to hurry an injured Howard away in Kyle’s car, but are forced to go back after passing through a swarm of horse flies.

Soon after, Michael arrives and arms the patrons as the entire sky plunges into blackness. Michael leads the patrons to fight off a large number of possessed people that arrive. They drag off Howard and cease their attack. He explains that God has lost faith in mankind and has sent down his angels to annihilate all humanity. He also reveals that Charlie’s baby is deemed to be the savior of mankind, and that it must stay alive if humanity is to have any hope of surviving. Michael also reveals that his original mission was to kill Charlie’s baby, but he disagreed with God’s orders, as he still has faith in the goodness of humanity.

The next morning Sandra discovers Howard crucified upside down behind the restaurant and covered with boils. She tries to rescue him but he violently explodes, killing Percy and driving Sandra insane. That night, a second wave of possessed attack, killing Kyle and pushing a panicked Charlie into labor. She delivers the baby as trumpets sound, signaling the approach of the Archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand), who is leading the attack on humanity. In a panic Sandra breaks her restraints and tries to give the baby to the possessed so Michael kills her.

Moments later, Gabriel is sent by God. When Gabriel reaches the diner he seriously injures Bob, and Michael gives Jeep the keys to the police cruiser he arrived in, urging them to escape. The hordes of possessed humans are unable to approach Charlie’s baby so Jeep, Audrey, Charlie, and her baby make their way to the cruiser. Gabriel and Michael fight, ending with Gabriel stabbing Michael through the chest with his mace. Michael dies and his body disappears. Bob lights a flame to the diner’s gas main, blowing up the diner and destroying himself and the remaining hordes of possessed.

Gabriel survives, and swoops down on the fleeing car. As he tries to reach Charlie, Audrey jumps on him and sacrifices herself after she yells at Jeep to slam on the brakes sending Gabriel through the front windshield as the car crashes. Charlie and Jeep survive with the baby, but Charlie indicates that Audrey did not survive the crash. Gabriel finally corners Jeep and Charlie in the nearby mountains. He is about to kill them when Michael appears from Heaven, an angel once more and stops Gabriel. Michael tells Gabriel that he (Michael) did what God needed, not what God wanted, thus giving humanity another chance. With his angelic powers back, Michael easily defeats Gabriel, but spares his life after which Gabriel leaves, defeated. Michael explains to Jeep that he is the child’s true protector then flies off. Charlie and Jeep make it to the top of the mountain and see a small town in the valley below.

Sometime later, Charlie, Jeep, and the baby are seen driving off into the distance with a car full of guns.

REVIEW:

There have been films about the apocalypse, more and more have been coming out recently. There have also been films about various angels and they’re displeasure with God and desire to be the ones he loves above all else. Also, there have been numerous films about possession and whatnot. Well, Legion combines these three elements, as well some kind of birth of a Savior plotline.

As you can tell by the poster, the major character of this film is the archangel Gabriel, who left Heaven because he didn’t want to follow a specific order given to him (we learn what the order is later on in the film). However, as much as you would think this guy is heavily featured, he isn’t. Basically, if you’ve seen the first 2, or maybe even the third, Terminator films, then you know that even though they are the main character, the flick revolves more around the people they are trying to save, serve, and protect (or kill in the case of The Terminator).

The trailers for this thing were quite misleading. They lead one to believe it was some sort of apocalyptic smackdown, but in fact this may as well have just been a horror flick using Armageddon as a backdrop. There was action, mostly involving guns, but between these scenes are forced to endure these scenes of intense drama that belong in Grey’s Anatomy or some other drama.

The effects were pretty good, but I was hoping for more possessed humans. All we got were the old lady and the ice cream man. All the rest were just human acting possessed with weird teeth. Also, Gabriel and Michael’s wings were pretty impressive, especially the way Gabriel used his as like some sort of shield.

Paul Bettany killed it as Michael, the archangel. I would have liked for him to show a bit more emotion, though. One thing that made no sense, though, was how he was able to sew his wounds up after he cut off is wings. There is no way he could have reached back there, but I guess some things just need to be overlooked.

Adrianne Palicki proves she can do more than be the sexy rebel girl on the TV series Friday Night Lights. If this is any indication of what she can do on the big screen, then we may very well be seeing more of her in the future.

Tyrese disappointed me. Not because he didn’t do a bang up job, but because his character was very stereotypical. The guy comes in driving an Escalade and listening to rap music, then we get the baby mama drama. Oh, and there’s the whole thing about him carrying a piece. It just seemed a bit wrong.

Kate Walsh annoyed the life out of me. I already don’t care for her, but you give her this role and it just makes it worse. I won’t say what happens to her, but let’s just say she gets what’s coming to her.

Dennis Quaid and Charles S. Dutton are their usual perfect on screen selves.

Lucas Black was a surprise. He seemed like the kind of loser who wanted to do right, and that is what he is, but he really made this character interesting and relatable to the audience, something the other actors didn’t do as well.

Legion has its hits and misses, but in the end it comes off as just an average film. It could have been so much better, had they gone in different directions, but since they didn’t, it never really takes off.  I can recommend this, but there is no reason to be in a big rush to see it.

3 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Road Trip

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Josh (Breckin Meyer) and Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard) were long time friends but soon high school sweethearts. But they both had to face a long distance relationship when Josh enrolls to University of Ithaca and Tiffany enrolls to the University of Austin. But they made a promise to be true to each other and call each other every day. But when Tiffany doesn’t call Josh, nor answering Josh’s calls, Josh is worrying that Tiffany is seeing another man (actually, her maternal grandfather died). But to show that he is still in love with her, he makes a daily recorded video blog to her. During Josh’s last blog, his friends Rubin Carver (Paulo Costanzo) and Barry Manilow (Tom Green) barge into the video. Barry then keeps checking on Rubin’s snake, Mitch, urging Rubin to over-feed Mitch. Josh tells Rubin to mail in his blog tape to Tiffany before leaving to class.

During Josh’s class time, Josh is flunking Ancient Philosophy class and needs a B+ on his mid-term to pass the semester. But Josh knows that he will flunk anyway. Still worrying about Tiffany, Josh’s friend E.L. (Seann William Scott) encourages Josh to move on to another woman, such as Josh’s friend Beth (Amy Smart) at his party. But Jacob, (Anthony Rapp) the teacher’s assistant, has a huge crush on Beth and she even knows that Josh likes her. Unbeknownst to Josh, he is being set up by Jacob to fail Ancient Philosophy.

During E.L.’s party, Josh attends and E.L. holds a auction for women, including Beth in the bid. Jacob also attends the party, too. Beth convinces Josh to outbid Jacob. But E.L. helps Josh win the bid at $26 when Jacob had $30. But E.L. acclaimed that since Jacob was a teacher’s assistant, his bid didn’t count. But after Josh and Beth dance, they decide to have sex. When they arrive at Josh’s room, Beth decides to record their sex with the same camcorder that Josh uses for his video blogs to Tiffany and they start having sex.

The next day, Barry sings a song called “Tiny Salmon” as Josh arrives in the room in a very jolly mood. He confesses that he had sex with Beth. His friends object and want proof. Josh attempts to play the tape but then realizes that Rubin accidentally sent the sex tape to Tiffany. Josh thens receives a voice mail from Tiffany saying that she didn’t call him because her grandfather died and will be cleaning his house until Monday. Josh decides to go on a road trip due to the fact that he has not enough money for a plane ticket. So Josh and E.L. get Kyle (DJ Qualls) to come along for his car. Kyle is a compulsive worrier who lives in constant fear of his overly strict father, Earl Edwards. So Josh, E.L., Rubin, and Kyle try to head to Austin, Texas for 1,800 miles in less than three days and leave Barry to take care of Mitch.

While Barry is taking care of Mitch, Beth asks him where Josh is. Barry tells her that Josh went to his Tiffany in Boston, in confusion with Austin. Beth then goes to the girls’ showers where everyone is naked for some advice. They suggest that she should go to Boston to tell Tiffany about the situation, which Beth does. However, the Tiffany she confronts in Boston is the wrong one.

But while on the road, the group talk about loop holes and then come across a ten foot gap that they think will waste 5 hours back tracking. But they soon think that they could jump the gap. Kyle objects but they jump it anyway. They make it but the wheels fall off and the car explodes. They continue on foot and stop at a motel. Rubin tries to score marijuana off the Motel Clerk (Andy Dick) and is informed that Kyle’s credit card is maxed out.

Meanwhile, Kyle’s father, Earl (Fred Ward) tries to pay for a meal with the maxed out card, but is denied service. He then begins an all-out search for Kyle when he is informed by the police that Kyle’s car has blown up and Kyle has turned up missing. On their way to Austin, the group goes through a series of hilarious misadventures, such as Rubin successfully bluffing his way into an all-Black fraternity house at the University of Tennessee and a riotous visit with Barry’s grandparents. Since Josh’s books were destroyed in the explosion, he calls his professor and gets an extension on his midterm…..or so he thinks.

The group finally gets to Austin and, once they get to Tiffany’s dorm, Josh intercepts the tape he sent to Tiffany, who has just arrived back at school. Meanwhile, Earl shows up. He is enraged over what happened with the car and the credit card and threatens to take Kyle back home with him. Kyle finally gets the courage to stand up to him and states that he is going back to school with his friends. Josh and Tiffany watch the tape, which turns out to be nothing but Barry mooning for the camera. Beth has found found out where the real Tiffany is and she calls to warn Josh that he has been duped by Jacob. Josh now has 48 hours to get back to school or else he will fail his midterm, fail the course, and, possibly, be kicked out of college. After they talk, Josh and Tiffany agree to break up and remain friends. Josh and his buddies head back to school and Josh arrives just in time to take his midterm – with a little help from Beth. Josh passes the course and he is now free to hook up with Beth and they make more videos together

REVIEW:

Hasn’t there been some pint in time where you just wanted to pack your car, grab some friends and just drive? Well, that is what the idea behind Road Trip was. However, they take us n the weird plot involving a sex tape and a guy who has been with the same girl his whole life…blah, blah, blah.

To confuse matters even more, they heavily advertised Tom Green (who was a big star at the time this was made), but his character was not that big of a deal, when all was said and done. I didn’t really get this, other than they just wanted to capitalize omn his fame, since none of the other actors in this flick were household names at the time.

I was expecting non-stop hilarity with this film, but was disappointed to watch this and find out that it was nothing more than just a string of some bad jokes and sex situations. Granted, they not as bad as they were in the teen comedies of the time, bt still…they were pretty bad.

I can’t say I cared for the casting, except for Breckin Meyer, who is an underrated comedian.

Amy Smart and Rachel Blanchard play the two women who are more or less the object of Josh’s affections. I’d have chosen Rachel, myself.

San William Scott again seems to be channeling his Stifler character, because this guy was close to al his mannerisms and whatnot.

The rest of the cast just seems to be there and cashing in a check. That is so sad, but it is true. One can only imagine what this would have been.

Road Trip is not a good film. Sure, there is an audience for it, and a group of detractors that hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle. Road Trip should have been hilarious from the moment it started until the money had ended, but it was pretty close to being a snooze fest.I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t waste my time (again). There is nothing to see here and, well, it is quite painful to even think about, so I won’t.

2 out of 5 stars

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The story begins in Toronto where Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), the bass guitarist for the band “Sex Bob-omb,” begins dating high-schooler Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) despite the protests of his friends and bandmates. He later meets a mysterious American girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and begins dating her, losing interest in Knives. Sex Bob-omb competes in a battle of the bands to win a record contract with the label G-Man when Scott is attacked by Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), the first of Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes who seek to control Ramona’s love life. Scott defeats Matthew and learns from Ramona that, in order for them to continue dating, he must defeat each member of the League of Evil Exes.

After learning that popular actor and skateboarder Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), the second evil ex, is coming to Toronto to film a movie, Scott is forced to break up with Knives, who is devastated and tries everything she can to win him back. Scott successfully defeats Lee by tricking him into performing a dangerous skateboard stunt. He encounters the third evil ex, Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), who serves as bass guitarist for Scott’s ex-girlfriend Envy Adams’ (Brie Larson) band, “The Clash at Demonhead.” Todd initially overpowers Scott using his psychic vegan abilities, which are stripped from him by the “Vegan Police” after Scott tricks him into drinking coffee with half and half, allowing Scott to win the fight.

Following the defeat of the fourth evil ex Roxy Ritcher (Mae Whitman), Scott’s relationship with Ramona begins to falter as he grows increasingly upset with her dating history. During the second round of the battle of the bands, Sex Bob-omb faces off against the fifth and six evil exes, twin Katayanagi brothers Kyle (Shota Saito) and Ken (Keita Saito), earning Scott an extra life upon their defeat. During the battle, Scott sees Ramona together with her seventh and final evil ex, Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman), who turns out to be Sex Bob-omb’s sponsor G-Man. Ramona breaks up with Scott as she is unable to leave Gideon’s side due to a chip in the back of her head, and Scott leaves Sex Bob-omb as they sign on to play at Gideon’s new club, the Chaos Theatre.

Scott goes to the club and professes his love for Ramona, gaining the “Power of Love” sword with which he uses to fight Gideon. Knives arrives to battle Ramona over Scott who, while trying to break up the girls’ fight, accidentally reveals that he is cheating on both of them with each other before he is killed by Gideon. Scott uses his extra life to restart his battle with Gideon, this time resolving his issues with his friends and owning up to his own faults, gaining the even stronger “Power of Self-Respect” sword and defeating Gideon alongside Knives. Free from Gideon’s control, Ramona encourages Scott and Knives to stay together while she prepares to leave to start over. Upon Knives’ insistence, however, Scott instead follows Ramona as he always wanted, and the two begin their relationship anew.

REVIEW:

First of all, let me say that when I heard about this film back in the fall, I had no idea what to expect. I saw Michael Cera was going to be in it and assumed it was going to another one of those indie drama/comedy things he’s always in. Then, earlier this summer, I saw the trailer for and was blown away by the level of awesomeness that this film looked to have and the countdown began!

If you’re like me, then you may probably have no idea who Scott Pilgrim is. No, he isn’t an original character (big shocker, right?), but rather a cult comic book.

From my understanding, this movies stays dead on with the source material, save for some stuff that just wouldn’t translate to the big screen. Why can’t they all do this?

Now, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is full of action. I’ll get to that in a second, but I have to say something about how slow-paced the first 30 minutes or so of this film are. I know, I know, it seems as though I’m always bitching about films that take forever to get going, but that’s because it is so true. What makes it worse, is that this film is obviously meant for people like me, who have a short attention span and want to get to the action. There was no need to drag on that drama at the beginning. Introduce the characters and move along. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is that studios don’t get that idea. If this was a drama, I’d let it slide, but this is a freakin’ action movie! Get to the action!!!!

Speaking of said action, I loved every minute of it. Sure, there are those that are going to question how this wimpy guy is able to pull off these moves, but do we really need to know everything about every character we see in film and television?  I think not. The mystery is what makes them great. Somewhere around the mid-90s or so, we seem to have forgotten that and our films have suffered.

Each of the fights are brilliantly choreographed and the effects that go on in the background a reminiscent of old school anime and the old Batman TV series. An eclectic mixture, to be sure, but it works better than you think.

The video game element of these fights is really quite hilarious, as with the defeat of each of the seven exes they turn to coins. Strangely enough, they just leave the coins there, except for the first one, where Scott and Ramona took a few for bus fare.

For those of you out there that are all overly concerned with violence, this is no more violent that the Mario Brothers’ games. Sure, in the final scene, he could have decapitated Gideon’s and we could have seen lots of gushing blood a la Mortal Kombat, but that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of Scott Pilgrim, now would it?

From what I’ve seen of Scott Pilgrim, no one would have been better to bring him to life than Michael Cera. A friend of mine like to say that he plays the same character in each of his films. This is not really an exception, but he does seem to be acting more. Maybe the director got more out of him, or he took some acting classes, who knows? One thing is for sure, he kicked some major ass!

Mary Elizabeth Winstead normally is drop dead gorgeous, but with this weird hairdo and negative attitude she has in this film, she didn’t do anything for me. However, that’s a testament to how good she was. Usually, she’s the nice damsel in distress type, so this is a departure for her, and she does it beautifully.

The Seven Evil Exes all have their quirks and whatnot, but here’s something that you ma not realize. Scott Pilgrim takes down Superman (Brandon Routh)…ex #3, and the Human Torch, soon to be Captain America (Chris Evans)…ex #2. Just an interesting tidbit.

I didn’t really care for Routh’s vegan powers, but it made for an interesting character. As for Evans, it would have been cool, if he would have the power to create his own stunt doubles with his mind…a sort of multiplicity power.

The best fight of all, though, was where Ramona actually defended Scott against, I think she was #5. That was a totally awesome fight, especially the choreography as Mary Elizabeth Winstead is basically controlling Michael Cera like some sort of puppet.

The final verdict on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is that it will more than likely be one of those cult hits when it is released on DVD. The theater I saw it in was rather empty…partially becus the a/c had broken earlier in the day, but that’s neither here nor there. This is a great film for those of us that tire of seeing a bunch of buff guys doing impossible stunts and shedding blood all over the place (that isn’t a shot at The Expendables, btw). Sometimes a change of pace is welcome, and with the quirky humor, video game graphics, and martial arts homage action, this is a film that should appeal to everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Go see it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars