Archive for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Five years have passed since the East Coast felt the deadly fury of sharknadoes, and America has become complacent about the possibility of another assault. But they’re back — and badder than ever — and Fin Shepard must again take them on.

What people are saying:

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that’s lost its bite” 1 1/2 stars

“With little to no comedic value whatsoever but the amount of cameos by not just out of work actors but politicians and other controversial figures, and abundance of easy-grab pop culture references make this the worst ‘Nado yet.” 1 star

“Sure the others are bad but in a good cheesey sci-fi way this was too much sure it was ok -maybe a little good i did laugh a little but it was like a bad parody movie that used to many parodies, and what was with the ending it was honestly the cheesiest and possibly worst part of this movie of course i know some people will like it anyway this is just my opinion and honestly that;s what a review is for, so if you loved sharknado and bad parodies with to many cheesy references in it then this movie is for you, i equate this with scary movie 5 to far but you know there will probably be more” 3 stars

“The 4th Awakens gives off the impression that the Sharknado franchise has locked into groove where it can give its fans more to talk about on social media while staying true to its B-movie creature feature/disaster film roots.” 4 stars

“By no means the best of the franchise it is still a fun ride. I didn’t recognize most of the cameos so that could be why I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first three. The story however was entertaining enough if you enjoy the Sharknado movies. More worked then didn’t and the cheesy entertainment and bad punchlines are all still abundant so I would be more then happy to see a fifth Sharknado movie. This is pure camp and cheese. Don’t expect anything else and you will enjoy yourself” 3 stars

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Posted in Action/Adventure, Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this trippy sequel to the 2010 blockbuster “Alice in Wonderland,” young Alice returns from several years at sea and again passes through to the magical landscape, where she ends up journeying into the past to try to save the Mad Hatter.

What people are saying:

“A solid kids’ movie in the old style. One with something to say about something real – family and time- and a willingness to admit consequences, even as it serves up goofy humor, mild thrills, and slippy-slidey accents from slumming stars.” 2 stars

“It deviated from the actual book, but that doesn’t mean it was not entertaining. It had good messages about positive attitudes for women not to be victims of circumstance. A much needed improvement from much of the stuff many kids are watching now. ” 5 stars

“The charm found in the first Alice in Wonderland is definitely missing in the sequel. The story is a mix match of going in the past future time etc. The plot that is way too confusing for most children even some adults. The acting isn’t anything great most of the actors you can tell look like they’re in front of a green screen. Some of the special effects were nice and there’s some creativity to be found in this movie but in the end it just didn’t come together very well.” 2 stars

“I never read the Alice in Wonderland books, but I doubt this is one of them. Yes, it has that zany twisted quality you expect in Wonderland, but there is a theme running through the movie that gives it a scifi depth, “Why can’t I go back in time and change the past?” Most of the characters from the first movie are back and Cohen’s Time fits in Wonderfully. ” 5 stars

“the most offensive kind of film…one that spends an enormous amount of money yet seems to have nothing on its mind but money. You give it, they take it. And you get nothing in return but assurances that you’re seeing magic and wonder. The movie keeps repeating it in your ear, and flashing it onscreen in big block letters: MAGIC AND WONDER. MAGIC AND WONDER. But there is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive characters and landscapes and ‘action scenes’, with blockbuster ‘journey movie’ tropes affixed to every set-piece as blatantly as Post-It Notes” 1 star

Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2014, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians’ ship with a fleet of drones. The drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, but the Guardians are forced to crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego. He invites Quill, who is accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home planet, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu shows reluctance to turn over Quill, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot, together with Yondu’s loyalist Kraglin, frees Rocket and Yondu and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface tips off the Sovereign fleet.

Ego explains he is a god-like Celestial, an immortal consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Forming a human guise, he traveled the universe to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith’s death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego had been searching for his son ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate their Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego’s planet and tries to kill Gamora, but fails and the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children; Ego killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Ego forcefully uses Quill to activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world. Quill fights back after Ego reveals that he deliberately caused Meredith’s death, as his love for her distracted him from his purpose.

Ego’s pet empath, Mantis, grows close to Drax and warns him, Gamora, and Nebula of Ego’s plan just as Rocket, Yondu, Groot, and Kraglin arrive. The reunited Guardians reach Ego’s brain at the planet’s core, and fight the Sovereign’s arriving drones. Rocket makes a bomb out of the stolen batteries that Groot plants on Ego’s brain, while Quill battles Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to allow the other Guardians to escape. The bomb explodes, killing Ego and causing the planet to disintegrate. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill, who now realizes Yondu did not deliver him to Ego in order to spare him from the fate of Ego’s other progeny, and that Yondu was Quill’s true “daddy”. Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to set out and attempt to kill Thanos. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which is attended by dozens of Ravager ships, acknowledging Yondu’s sacrifice and accepting him again as a Ravager.

In a series of mid- and post-credit scenes, Kraglin takes up Yondu’s telekinetic arrow and control fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord, inspired by Yondu’s sacrifice, reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot starts growing back to normal size, exhibiting typical teenage behavior in the process; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam; and a group of uninterested Watchers listen to their informant discuss several experiences on Earth.

REVIEW:

Let the summer blockbuster season of 2017 begin! First film out the gate is Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2. Like just about everyone, I still don’t know much about the Guardians. Since the release (and success) of the first film, they have had an increased presence over at Marvel, including an animated series. Will this sequel justify the success they’ve had or are they just a fluke?

What is this about?

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

What did I like?

What an Ego. The villain this time out is Ego, the Living Planet, whose origin has been changed slightly so that he is the father of Star-Lord. Now, with a name like Ego, you can just about assume the kind of personality he has to have. Well, who better to get than Kurt Russell, someone who has played a few pompous characters in his day (just watched him a couple of days ago in Sky High). I also must mention the creative things the effects department did to show him as the living planet, such as the face on the planet, talking energy, etc.

Too cute. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot sacrificed himself to save the team. As the credits are rolling, we see that he is a sapling living in a flower pot (and dancing to the Jackson 5). Well, this film is set shortly after the first one and Groot is a little older. Let’s not be naïve, here. The filmmakers made him that age to sell merchandise. He’s just so cute! That aside, he’s also vicious, as seen on Yondu’s ship, so be warned!

Source material. Speaking of Yondu, this is another character that I’m not too familiar with. I remember looking him up when the first film was released and seeing that giant fin on his head, wondering where it was in the film. The filmmakers must have had some fanboys pester them about said fin because they put it on him this time. I can’t say it is an upgrade, but I will say it is nice to see some adherence to the source material, rather than changing everything to make it more realistic, or whatever excuse studios have nowadays.

What didn’t I like?

Mixtape. A music connoisseur such as myself is sure to appreciate the diversity of the soundtrack, and I really do. However, in comparison to the collection used for the first film, this one falls short. The biggest reason for this is that there isn’t anything to catch the listener’s attention and bring them in. This mix needed something akin to “Hooked on a Feeling”, but doesn’t have it.

All that glitters ain’t gold. Aside from Ego, and a short Ravagers mutiny, the other villain in the film are a race of gold people, who believe themselves to be perfect, known as the Sovereign. I understand the reason they were after the Guardians, and like how they remote controlled their ships but, to be honest, they just became pests after awhile, especially during the climactic battle with Ego inside the planet’s core where they just show up and interfere while the Guardians are trying to defeat a God-like being who wants to terraform the universe in his image.

Why so serious. Unlike some of the other films in the MCU, the Guardians’ films have never been all that serious. Much like the Fantastic Four (are supposed to be), this is a team that enjoys what they do and doesn’t over analyze it or make every mission a political fiasco, etc., etc. That being said, I feel like this film got a little too serious in parts, particularly during the family parts (Star Lord and Ego and Gamora and Nebula). Yes, there is some conflict there, but those scenes were so serious that it felt like I was watching a different movie. Thank goodness both scenes were interrupted by someone crashing in and interrupting their dialoguing.

Final verdict on Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2? Truth be told, this is an entertaining film. It will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even sing. We get perhaps the most interesting Stan Lee cameo to date and a new character is introduced to us, played by Sylvester Stallone. All of the cast members return from the first film, and we may have gained a new guardian in the innocent, lovable Mantis. So, with all that in mind, do I recommend this? Well, it isn’t the surprise hit that its predecessor was, but I think that has more to do with expectations, but it is fun from beginning to end. I highly recommend it for all!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Sky High

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Will Stronghold — the son of two superheroes known as the Commander and Jetstream — is the only kid at Sky High who hasn’t developed superpowers yet, which means he may be relegated to the less-than-thrilling role of a sidekick.

What people are saying:

“With a crisp and snappy visual style and its smartly paced story, Sky High pulls an incredible feat in an age of dumbed-down kids comedies; it’s as down-to-earth as it is super.” 4 stars

“A surprisingly fun and humorous look at superhero tropes by way of a high school designed specifically for the gifted vigilantes’ offspring. Though some of the humor skews a bit too young and many of the movie’s visual effects are dated in the worse way, there’s plenty of wit and pointed comic book skewering to go around — making this one pleasant surprise of a Disney family flick.” 3 stars

“It’s Disney! Written by and for High School freshmen. If you can suspend your adulthood for an hour and a half you will enjoy it. A more entertaining story on a very similar theme is found in the comic “PS 238″ The protagonist is the son of two superheroes without any superpowers (except the knack for survival)…” 3 stars

“Though the film gives some good laughs, cool sequences, a great cinemontography, and a surprisingly original story, Sky High falls flat for me. I forgot the characters, I was often bored, the CG SUCKED, and was left thinking, “Eh.” 3 stars

“Sky High is one of Disney’s best films of this decade so far. I don’t know why a lot of people are comparing it to The Incredibles. It is not like that movie at all. It’s more like a cross between X-Men and Fantastic Four. Everyone had different superpowers. I enjoyed this movie. This movie did show a lot of references to other movies and TV shows based on comic books (like Wonder Woman, Batman, Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). If you are in the mood for a good, family movie, watch Sky High.” 4 stars

Victor Frankenstein

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

What people are saying:

“Aiming to do for Victor Frankenstein what Guy Richie did for Sherlock Holmes, set in the past but with a playful, postmodern sensibility that zaps new life into Shelley’s 200 year-old Gothic masterpiece” 4 stars

“To avoid the accusation that it’s an unnecessary remake of an oft-told story, screenwriter Max Landis has reduced Mary Shelly’s cautionary tale to a bad comic book, bereft of soul and intelligence.” 1 star

“A different take on the Frankenstein franchise. This is more of a prequel than the typical Frankenstein movie. Like a lightning storm, some flashes of brilliance and a lot of wind and disaster. Radcliffe was pretty good and McAvoy does a good job of portraying the doctors spiral into obsession and madness. The movie is a bit long and has a completely worthless and misplaced love story. Could have been better, but it is imaginative.” 3 stars

“I expected too much I suppose. By the time we get to the monster, which was probably one of the better Frankensteins I’ve seen, he’s only there for a moment or two and then it’s over. I liked how Igor was more than just a bumbling idiot and how this was somewhat of a partnership, but it’s just a jumbled mess from bottom to top.” 3 stars

“Would have been really good if they kept with the buddy-cop-like-comedy instead pushing some of the dramatic elements. This dialogs between Igor und Dr. Frankenstein are hilarious and most times really good fun.” 4 stars

Independence Day: Resurgence

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global catastrophe on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.

What people are saying:

“With its flat characters and a bland, retreaded narrative, Independence Day: Resurgence makes for a banal and instantly-forgettable sequel that can’t even live up to the decent spectacle of the original.” 2 1/2 stars

“Ouch. An insult to the original. And to make matters worse, it’s horrifying when a movie feels the need to explain itself so early and so often. It couldn’t be just another Independence Day — that would’ve been bearable — they had to try and be different…and failed. Horribly.” 1 1/2 stars

“A worthy sequel with some over the top special effects. It may not be as well received for fans of the first one, but this is definitely worth a watch.” 3 stars

“Independence Day: Resurgence proves that visual effects cannot hide the script from monotone and stupid characters and a confusing nonsensical plot. Worse, it proves Roland Emmerich has little to no clue what made the original fun in the first place” 1 1/2 stars

“The Resurgence blueprint calls for a scene in which characters have human, allegedly humorous and/or touching moments; a scene in which characters plot strategy against the aliens; and a big action sequence in which it’s often difficult to tell the difference between the good-guy spaceships and the bad-guy spaceships. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat” 1 1/2 stars

Suicide Squad

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the aftermath of Superman’s death, intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at Belle Reve Prison consisting of elite hitman Deadshot, former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo, opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang, genetic mutation Killer Croc, and specialized assassin Slipknot. They are placed under command of Colonel Rick Flag to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.

One of Waller’s intended recruits is Flag’s girlfriend Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist possessed by a witch-goddess known as the “Enchantress”. Enchantress quickly turns on Waller, deciding to eradicate humankind with a mystical weapon for imprisoning her. She besieges Midway City by transforming its populace into a horde of monsters, and summons her brother Incubus to assist her. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, which is reported to be under a terrorist attack.

Harley’s homicidal lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures Belle Reve Security Officer Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. There, he blackmails Dr. Van Criss into disabling Harley’s bomb. On approach, the squad’s helicopter is shot down, forcing them to proceed on foot to their target. Boomerang inaccurately convinces Slipknot that the bombs are a ruse to keep them in check; Slipknot attempts to escape and Flag kills him via his nano bomb, while the squad is attacked by Enchantress’ minions. They eventually manage to fight their way through to a safe room, where they learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement in Enchantress’ siege.

The squad escorts Waller to a rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by the Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad while Harley climbs aboard upon Dr. Van Criss disarming the bomb. However, Waller’s men shoot down the helicopter, and Harley falls out while the Joker is presumed dead, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller’s whereabouts, Enchantress’ minions arrive and kidnap her. Deadshot finds Waller’s confidential files and learns the truth about Enchantress. Flag is then forced to confess the truth, causing the squad members to abandon him. With Waller compromised, Flag relieves the squad of the mission, but chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon rejoin him and locate Enchantress at a partially-flooded subway station. Killer Croc and a group of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant GQ Edwards, go underwater to plant a bomb underneath Incubus. El Diablo embraces his abilities and manages to distract Incubus long enough for the bomb to detonate underneath, killing them both as well as Edwards.

The remaining squad members battle Enchantress together, but are ultimately defeated. Enchantress offers to fulfill their deepest desires in exchange for their allegiance, and Harley feigns interest in order to get close enough to cut out Enchantress’ heart. Killer Croc then throws explosives into Enchantress’ weapon and Deadshot shoots them, destroying the device. Flag takes Enchantress’ heart and crushes it, finally freeing June from the curse. Waller, still alive, emerges, and the squad members are returned to Belle Reve with ten years off their sentences. All but Captain Boomerang are allowed special privileges. The Joker, alive and unscathed, breaks into the penitentiary and rescues Harley. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who agrees to protect her from the backlash against her role in Enchantress’ rampage in exchange for access to the government’s files on the expanding metahuman community.

REVIEW:

With all the superhero movies out there today, shouldn’t we start having some that put the spotlight on the supervillains? That is what the idea behind Suicide Squad is, I believe. No matter what side of the fence you are on regarding this film, you can’t deny that it brought some new characters to the big screen. Regardless of that fact, though, one must wonder if this worth the time to watch or would it be better to just find clips on Youtube.

What is this about?

In this thrill-packed visit to the dark side of the DC Comics universe, a covert government organization drafts a team of jailed supervillains to carry out black ops missions in return for clemency.

What did I like?

Harley. A lot of people don’t know or don’t realize that Harley is actually a pretty young character. She was created originally for Batman: The Animated Series and gained so much popularity that she was written into the actual comics. Now you see her almost as much as you see major Batman adversaries such as Joker, Penguin, Riddler, etc. When I saw that Margot Robbie was set to play her and saw her costume, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. At least we got the easter egg with her in the jester outfit, though. Also, Robbie is doing her best to keep the Jersey accent that Harley is known for, and I can appreciate that. Now, the chemical bath thing, I’m not so sure about, but I can let that slide.

No longer in the Arrowverse. I think it was in season 1 or 2 of Arrow that audiences were given a fairly decent take on Floyd Lawton, otherwise known as Deadshot. Just as we were starting to get used to the guy, they kill him! Turns out that was so they could have him for this film. Truth be told, I like Will Smith’s version better, as a person. As the character, I would go with the guy from the tv show. Still, Smith stepped out of his comfort zone a bit and played a villain, and he deserves kudos for that (and not dragging his no-talent son into this with him).

Amanda Waller. This is the second time Amanda Waller has been portrayed on the big-screen. Third if you count that chick that play her on Arrow. In Green Lantern, she was played by Angela Bassett, but I didn’t get the villainous vibe from her there. In this film, Viola Davis plays her and it very much feels like she would shoot you in the face as well as shake your hand. The duplicitous nature of this character is what makes her so interesting and I am very glad they really played it up in this film. Hopefully we’ll get more of her in future DC films.

What didn’t I like?

Killer Croc. I’m not the biggest fan of Killer Croc. The only time his character has really impressed me is in the first Arkham Asylum game where he chases you through the sewers. I know its just a game, but that was some terrifying stuff when I went through it the first time. The main reason I don’t like this Croc has to do with his design. I’ve always preferred him to be more of a giant reptile type creature, rather a normal size dude with bad skin. They could’ve at least done something about making him more of a threat height wise.

Cholo. The whole film has this L.A. gangster vibe that I wasn’t feeling. A couple of characters can fit that mold, such as El Diablo, but everyone didn’t need to be tatted up throwing around gang signs and whatnot. The Joker is the worst culprit! I know this is Jared Leto’s interpretation of the Joker. More power to him! The whole tatted up, slicked back hair, and the silver grill…nuh uh! These things are not the Joker! That’s some cholo mess right there!

Just put the mask on! Once again we have a case of a major star cast as a character who wears a mask 99% of the time, but refuses to wear it except for a couple of scenes. Smith’s excuse in the film is that “people die when I wear it.” This is coming from an assassin! WTF?!? Put the damn mask on and be Deadshot, or find another role! I’m so tired of these diva actors who are “too good” to wear a mask because they think we won’t see their face!

Final thought on Suicide Squad? I didn’t expect to like this, to be honest with you. I had heard bad things when it was released this summer and, coupled with my busy schedule, just didn’t bother going to see it back then. Finally getting a chance to watch it tonight and I have to say that I enjoyed myself. If those reshoots they did were to add some action and comedy in, then I’m all for it. Had this film been another ultra-serious, brooding, dark film like everything else DC has put out, im likely to have jumped off a bridge! With that said, do I recommend this? Believe it or not, yes I do. This isn’t a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it worth a watch.

4 out of 5 stars