Archive for Clancy Brown

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When Bikini Bottom’s livelihood is threatened after a pirate steals the secret Krabby Patty recipe, SpongeBob and his pals head to shore to get it back. But the animated crew will have to get tough to face the live-action villain on land.

What people are saying:

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water won’t win over many viewers who aren’t fans of the show, but for the converted, it’s another colorful burst of manic fun.” 3 1/2 stars

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” remains true to the surrealism of its animated television roots. But it also tries to force a live-action element which isn’t as comfortable a fit as a certain pair of symmetrical trousers.” 3 1/2 stars

“It’s a great way to say goodbye to thI remember loving Spongebob as a kid, and this brings me back to my childhood! It reminds me of Spongebob back in the good old days. I can see how people would find the mixture of computer-animation and live-action distracting whenever the characters would go to the surface, but I don’t find it too bothersome. Besides, they don’t go to the surface until the final act, so most of the movie still has that 2D traditional hand-drawn format that the TV show has. If you love the first SpongeBob movie, then chances are, you’ll probably love the second one.e part of my childhood that was a Spongebob fan who lost his interest in the show catching glimpses of the horrible recent episodes of the show. It feels like a film, though probably filmed in a very short time period and made easily with the directors sitting at a table thinking up of the most ridiculous things they could think of and finishing the script in less than a week…but it’s a fun film. Batshit insane, sure…but it’s fun. I enjoyed it.” 3 stars

“I remember loving Spongebob as a kid, and this brings me back to my childhood! It reminds me of Spongebob back in the good old days. I can see how people would find the mixture of computer-animation and live-action distracting whenever the characters would go to the surface, but I don’t find it too bothersome. Besides, they don’t go to the surface until the final act, so most of the movie still has that 2D traditional hand-drawn format that the TV show has. If you love the first SpongeBob movie, then chances are, you’ll probably love the second one.” 4 1/2 stars

“Despite what Nick’s advertising would have you believe, SpongeBob is a brilliant show that a person of any age can enjoy. Well it used to be. SpongeBob was brilliant in its first 3 seasons and decent in seasons 4 and 5. However in season 6 the quality tanked the show became an annoying and boring shell of its former self with Choir Boys being the series’ masterpiece of failure. Sponge out of Water however managed to be a laugh-out loud ride that brought back my childhood love of the show. The movie is colorful and bursting with creativity, all while showing the immense comedic talents of the cast and characters creating one of the stronger 2010’s comedies.” 4 1/2 stars

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Flubber

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Professor Philip Brainard (Robin Williams) of Medfield College is developing a new energy source, in an attempt to raise enough money to save the college from closure. His preoccupancy with his research distracts him from his fiancée and the college president Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden); he has missed two weddings in the past as a result of this, much to the anger of Sara. On the day of the third attempted wedding, Philip is approached by his former partner Wilson Croft (Christopher McDonald), who has profited from ideas he has stolen from the chemist and now desires to steal Sara from Philip and make her his wife, which he declares directly to Philip. Before he can make it to the wedding, his latest experiment shows fast development, forcing him to miss another wedding. The resulting substance created from the experiment is a green goo that increases in speed as it bounces and proves to be difficult to control, wreaking havoc on the neighborhood before the professor finally manages to capture it. Weebo (voiced by Jodi Benson), Philip’s hovering robot assistant, classifies the substance as “flying rubber”, leading Philip to christen it as “Flubber”.

Philip continues to work on Flubber into the early morning, looking to stabilize the rubber’s movement as opposed to stimulation. Philip’s watch alarm goes off at 6 a.m. (set wrong) and Weebo informs him that he has missed the third wedding. Philip goes to Sara’s office and unsuccessfully attempts to explain the situation to her. Meanwhile, Medfield College sponsor Chester Hoenicker (Raymond J. Barry) is unhappy that Philip failed his son Bennett (Wil Wheaton) in chemistry class. That night, Hoenicker sends his two security guards Smith (Clancy Brown) and Wesson (Ted Levine) to Philip’s house in an attempt to persuade Philip into giving Bennett a better grade. However, Philip is too busy testing the Flubber to even notice them and suddenly knocks them out unconscious with a Flubber-coated golf ball and bowling ball. He uses Flubber to give his vintage Ford Thunderbird flight. During a test run, he discovers Wilson making the moves on Sara. Afterwards, Weebo attempts to confess her love of Philip, only to be shrugged off as a computer. In response, she secretly creates a holographic human version of herself named Sylvia (Leslie Stefanson) in hopes of winning him over. Before Weebo can make out with Philip in this form as he sleeps, Philip awakens with another idea for Flubber. He enters an empty basketball arena and tests the effects of Flubber on a basketball. Later, he gives Flubber-padded shoes to the unskilled Medfield basketball team to increase their abilities.

Back in Philip’s home, a spiteful Weebo unleashes Flubber from his case, allowing him to dance around the house and cause general mayhem. After the close but successful basketball game, Philip’s attempt to win Sara back into his favor fails. Philip dumps all of his emotional baggage onto Weebo, saying his absent-mindedness is due to his love of Sara. Weebo records Philip’s ramblings and shows the footage to Sara, who then reconciles with Philip. Philip demonstrates Flubber’s abilities to Sara and they discuss how it can be used for profit. However, Hoenicker discovers Flubber’s existence and sends Smith and Wesson to infiltrate Philip’s house and steal Flubber. Weebo attempts to fend off the henchmen, only to be struck down by Smith with a baseball bat. Philip and Sara return home and find Rover (Philip’s house-robot) cleaning up, Flubber gone and Weebo destroyed. Later, Philip discovers that Weebo had downloaded back-up data of herself onto his computer in the event of her destruction, as well as a video recording of Weebo’s hologram professing her love for him.

Philip and Sara confront Hoenicker and try to retrieve Flubber, only to discover that Wilson is allied with the millionaire. After a battle, Philip and Sara defeat Wilson, Bennett, Hoenicker and his henchmen, get Flubber back, raise enough money to save the college and finally have a successful marriage, along with Flubber and the “daughter” of Weebo, called Weebette. The film ends with the family heading to Hawaii in Philip’s car.

REVIEW:

I’m not sure how many of you can remember this, but back in the late 80s/early 90s on Sunday nights ABC (or one of the other networks) would show movies suitable for family viewing. This eventually turned into Disney movies, of course, but one of the films I remember seeing was The Absent Minded Professor (starring Harry Anderson, of Night Court fame, not the original). Flubber is the big screen adaptation of this film starring Robin Williams and with a bigger budget. Do the extra $$$ help make this a viable viewing option?

What is this about?

On the verge of losing his girlfriend and his job, a scatterbrained college professor accidentally invents a bouncy material called Flubber.

What did I like?

Innocence. Remember those days when families could sit around and watch a movie together without getting uncomfortable because of certain themes/topics, situations, language, etc. that was included in the film? Well, this is a bit of a throwback to those days. As a matter of fact, if not for some one scene of potty humor, this could very well have been rated G. When was the last time anything was rated G, come to think of it.

Scum and villainy. In old movies and cartoons, you can usually tell the villains. Automatic indicators tend to be, wearing black, polar opposite of the hero, twirling mustache, etc. Well, such characteristics have long since gone away and when used today result in critics and audiences referring to the villains as “cartoonish”. The villain in the film is a rich guy who wants to shut down the college and has his henchmen steal the flubber, I swear this guy might just needed to have the swiveling chair and some death traps to perfectly fit the stereotype of rich villain but, for this film, it works. Don’t ask me how, but it does.

Mambo. I’m not going to deny that the special effects since this was released in 1997 have become a tad dated, but one cannot help but be impressed with the Flubber mambo scene. The movement and formations in time with the exciting Latin music make for perhaps the best scene in the film. The animators really took care to make sure these balls of goop had enough personality to put on an elaborate dance scene that, while totally random, was extremely entertaining.

What didn’t I like?

Snot. Staying on the topic of Flubber, I have to mention the way it looks. Who had the brilliant idea to make it look like a ball of snot? Seriously?!? Did it have to be green? Why not blue, purple, or maybe have it some sort of chameleon? Seeing as this is a film aimed at kids, I’m sure they thought it was just a giant blob of snot. Also, the film is named for the stuff, and we do get a lot of use out of it, but the character Flubber seems to only have 3 or 4 scenes. I imagine this is due to CGI costs, but we get Weebo for almost the entire film, surely Flubber could have had another scene or two!

Love story. This is probably going to sound like I don’t have a heart, which is something I am accused of more often than not, but I really believe this film could have done without the love story. I say this because it doesn’t really move the story anywhere. All that is accomplished it a way to show Weebo is in love with the Professor, something else that probably could have been left out. The angle with Marcia Gay Harden ran its course when she he falls out of her window. At that point, we should have focused on the flubber experiments (and the comedic results and explosions).

Not nerdy enough. For this role, I see some scrawny, nerdy guy. Someone in the vein of Rick Moranis, Jerry Lewis, maybe even Martin Short. Robin Williams, in comparison, is John Wayne. What I mean by that, is Williams is more burly and dare I say manly, not exactly features one would expect when describing an absent-minded professor who spends most of his time in his garage lab or running to teach his classes and then running back home for more experiments. Maybe it is just me, but I didn’t find Williams nerdy enough.

Here’s a bit of trivia about Flubber. The voice of the little robot Weebo is the same as another well-known redhead in the Disney Universe, Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Yes, Jodi Benson lends her voice to this film, and I think she appears as Weebo is “dying”, but I’m not sure if that was her or not. So, what is the final verdict on this film? It is what is it, and that is a solid family film that will make you laugh, perhaps cry, and give you that warm fuzzy feeling. As an overall film, though, it isn’t that great. Still, I would highly recommend it, so bounce on over or start your flubber powered flying car and check this out!

4 out of 5 stars

Homefront

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

DEA agent, and ex soldier, Phil Broker (Jason Statham) sees his quiet family life turned upside down when his path crosses with a band of drug traffickers, led by Gator (James Franco), a meth kingpin

REVIEW:

I’m in a bit of a rush today, so I need to be sure to finish Homefront before I need to be heading out the door. As a big Jason Statham fan, I am always looking forward to his films, but lately they haven’t been as impressive as they could/should be. Hopefully, this outing will return him to form.

What is this about?

When ex-DEA agent Phil Broker is widowed, he moves with his 10-year-old daughter to a small town in pursuit of a quiet life, but he finds his dream destroyed by a murderous drug trafficker, Gator, and his gang of meth-making thugs.

What did I like?

Action. One of the reasons we all love Jason Statham is because he kicks ass and takes names. We get a plenty of that in this film, even though he does try to not fight everyone in the small redneck town (not too far from where I’m from, as a matter of fact). Seeing Statham back in action, breaking bones, leaving guys bruised and bloodied, and doing so without really getting riled up about it reminded me of The Transporter franchise, which some would say are his best films…at least the first two.

Franco. James Franco has had an interesting career playing a variety of characters, but he really hasn’t played a sadistic, meth dealing, evil mastermind like he does in this film to my knowledge. I appreciate the guy is stretching his wings and doing something different. True, he shines in the stoner roles he normally is cast in, but he is more than capable of playing bigger and better roles, such as this one, the reluctant antagonist.

Writing. Believe it or not, this is a film that was written by Sylvester Stallone. Statham takes the material and really makes it pop. While this has all the makings of Stallone’s film, just with Statham in the lead, he does manage to make it his own and with a pretty solid cast to bring this story to life on the screen. The script leaves you wondering what is going to happen in the end, especially when an alternate element, not spoiling anything, comes in and tries to get revenge. The way all this is accomplished is quite impressive, especially for someone who I really didn’t know was a screenwriter.

What didn’t I like?

Surfs up. Remember in the early 2000s when everyone was so in love with Kate Bosworth? Ever wondered where she disappeared to? Well, she turns up in this film as a strung out, meth head, redneck who is the mother of the boy whom Statham’s daughter beats up in the playground. Apparently, this chick is a bit unstable. So much so, that the sheriff has to come to the school when she does to make sure she doesn’t do anything rash. In a previous meeting, she apparently threatened the principal. Nothing against Bosworth, but it just seemed as if this wasn’t the role for her. The way they were describing her, I expected someone a bit more detached from reality, not to mention the effect meth would have had on her looks. Bosworth didn’t portray these things to me, personally.

Can I get a laugh? As I was sitting here watching the events of this film play out, I was hoping for some comic relief, but didn’t really get it. On first appearance, one would think that Omar Benson would have played it, but that was not the case. As a matter of fact, the only real funny moment in this flick is the wig Statham is wearing at the beginning of the film. For me, I need comic relief to break up the seriousness. I’m not saying this needed to turn into a comedy, but a couple of light jokes would have been nice.

He started it. The bodies pile up, a mother is shot by her brother, a kitten is stolen from a little girl, a marriage is strained even more than it already was, Wynona Ryder pulls a swerve on James Franco that just makes things worse, etc. All of these things happen because one little boy was bullying Statham’s daughter on the playground. Yes, she did kick his ass, but had they just let this go, there wouldn’t have been any of these problems. If ever there was a case for not bullying, this is it, as you can see it snowball from those actions.

Final thoughts on Homefront? I think this is a film that is underrated. It dug Wynona Ryder and Kate Bosworth out of whatever hole in the wall they had been hold up in. The action is bad ass, the story is decent, and the subplot involving the biker gang (which seems to be forgotten until the second half of the film) isn’t horrible. Do I recommend this flick? Yes, while the film has its problems, it is enjoyable. Give it a shot sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

Cowboys & Aliens

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1873 Arizona, a loner named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns that he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people, including Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), who rules the town with an iron fist. Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when alien spaceships attack the town. While his shackle holds the key to defeating the aliens, Lonergan must ally with Dolarhyde and other former enemies to make a stand against them.

It is eventually revealed that Ella (Olivia Wilde), a mysterious woman Lonergan has fallen in love with, is an alien warrior who was sent to Earth to help resist the invaders because they destroyed her homeworld. She explains that the aliens are a group of lowly space pirates, though very technologically advanced by Earth standards, who value our gold and wish to exterminate humanity to take it. However the alien pirates are not invulnerable: Lonergan’s gauntlet weapon can kill them, and stabbing them or shooting them can as well, though they are far stronger and better armed than any humans.

Armed with this knowledge the group, now led by Colonel Dolarhyde and including a group of Indians whose families were kidnapped by the space pirates, attack their grounded mothership. In a sneak attack they destroy the alien speeders, forcing the space pirates to fight them on the ground where they are eventually, after a prolonged battle, defeated. The remaining alien pirates attempt to flee in their damaged mothership but Ella sacrifices herself to detonate the ship’s engine core with Lonergan’s gauntlet.

Lonergan, now somewhat able to recall his past, leaves the town, now with Colonel Dolarhyde, a changed man due to the incident, in charge.

REVIEW:

For those of you that keep up with this blog, then you are more than aware that two of my favorite genres are westerns and sci-fi, so when a picture comes along called Cowboys & Aliens, you can all but imagine my overabundance of joy.

The mixture of genres, surprisingly, has not been done…as far as I know, up to now, but for some reason, I believe we’ll be seeing more in the future.

Cowboys & Aliens is based on a cult comic. I have never read the comic, so I can’t rightly say that this is a loose or accurate interpretation of the source material, but judging by how well Jon Favreau did with bringing a faithful interpretation of  Iron Man from the comic book pages to the big screen.

The plot of this picture takes us along for the ride with Jake Lonergan who wakes up in the middle of the western desert with no memory of who he is and a highly advanced technological something or other on his arm, upon making it to town, Jake learns that he is a wanted man.

Just as the Federal Marshall is about to take him and another prisoner away, here come the aliens. You’ve all seen this scene before.

Following the attack, the major characters and some others trek into the woods to track don the aliens and stop them. While out there, they meet up with some Apache indians and learn of Ellen’s secret, not to mention setup for the final confrontation with the aliens.

A lot of people hear the title to this film and assume it is going to be something like Mars Attacks, but that is not the case. As a matter of fact, they actually play it straight.

I don’t really know why with a cast that includes Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, and Daniel Craig, I expected some light moments, but I did. I wasn’t really disappointed that they were few and fast between, but it would have breathed a different bit of life into the film.

The aliens aren’t going to go down in history as the best looking or smarted we’ve ever seen, but they were pretty good. I was reminded of the aliens from the Alien franchise when I saw them.

I can’t say that I cared much for the pacing of this film. It was very old school in its development early on, just like an old western. However, you’d think they’d have been able to come up with something more interesting. Maybe it’s just me, though.

This is another one of those pictures that has caused a disconnect between the casual viewer and the critic. The critics have been doing nothing short of ripping this one apart. The casual viewer, however, has been thoroughly enjoying it, as have I. Sure, there are moments here and there that should have been tuned up a bit more ,but overall this is a very enjoyable summer blockbuster. I highly recommend it !

4 out of 5 stars

Green Lantern

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Millions of years before the Earth was formed, a group of beings called the Guardians of the Universe used the green essence of Willpower to create an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps. They split the universe into 3,600 sectors, with one Green Lantern per sector. The strongest of all the Green Lanterns was Abin Sur of Sector 2814, who defeated the ultimate being of fear called Parallax and imprisoned him in the Lost Sector (Sector 666) on the ruined planet Ryut. However, in the present day, Parallax (at the form of a Guardian of the universe) escapes from his prison after consuming the lives of three aliens stranded in the sector. Six months later, after killing four Green Lanterns and destroying two planets, Parallax attacks Sector 2814 and mortally wounds Abin Sur, who escapes and crash-lands on Earth. With his life reaching its end, Abin Sur commands his ring to find a worthy successor on the planet.

Test pilot Hal Jordan is whisked away to the crash site, where he is appointed Green Lantern by a dying Abin Sur. He travels to the Green Lantern Corps home base of Oa and meets Tomar-Re and Kilowog before encountering Sinestro, who is not pleased that a human – which is primitive compared to other species – has become a Green Lantern. Seeing himself unfit and fearful by Sinestro, Hal quits and returns to Earth. Meanwhile, after being summoned by a secret government organization, scientist Hector Hammond performs an autopsy on Abin Sur’s body, but a piece of Parallax’s DNA inside the corpse injects itself inside him, mutating the scientist and giving him telepathy and telekinetic powers, at the cost of his sanity. When he realizes that his own father, U.S. Senator Robert Hammond, had manipulated him to do the alien autopsy, he attempts to kill him by telekinetically sabotaging his helicopter at a party. But Hal uses his Green Lantern powers to save the senator and all of the party guests – including his girlfriend Carol Ferris, who later on recognizes him under the suit and mask. Shortly after, Hal encounters Hector, who succeeds in his second attempt to kill his father by burning him, and realizes that Parallax is on his way to Earth.

Back on Oa, the Guardians reveal to Sinestro that Parallax was originally one of them, until he desired to control the yellow essence of Fear against the wishes of his peers, ultimately becoming the embodiment of fear itself. Seeing that the only means to fight fear is fear itself, Sinestro requests for the Guardians to forge a ring of the same yellow power. However, Hal appears and tells Sinestro not to use the ring and asks the Corps to help him protect Earth from Parallax’s imminent invasion. His request, however, is denied and Hal himself must protect his home planet.

Upon returning to Earth, Hal saves Carol from being injected with Parallax’s DNA by Hector, but Parallax arrives – consuming Hector’s life force for failing to kill Hal before wreaking havoc on Coast City. Hal wards Parallax away from Earth and towards the Sun – using the Sun’s gravity to pull and disintegrate the entity. He loses consciousness after the battle, but is saved by Sinestro, Kilowog and Tomar-Re before the entire Green Lantern Corps congratulate him for his bravery. Hal tells Carol he now bears the responsibility of protecting his sector as a Green Lantern.

During the end credits, Sinestro, who is drawn by the power of fear, takes the yellow ring and puts it on.

REVIEW:

When I started this blog, one of the things I set out to do was to give the view and opinion of someone who didn’t go to school to be a movie critic or anything like that, but just likes movies. If ever there was a time to show that the critics have forgotten how to watch a film and enjoy it, Green Lantern is it.

I’m sure by now you’ve read/heard the scathing review of this film. I’ve heard it all from boring, cluttered, too much CGI, dull performances, etc. I could not be further from the critics on this one.

Before I get too far in on this, I have to mention that when the initial trailer was released back in November, critics, fanboys, etc. ripped it apart and haven’t stopped since then, even in their review of the finished project. Isn’t that a shame?

If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews, then you know that I don’t support 3D. I think it is nothing more than a gimmick, but I made a rare exception for this film. I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t take advantage of the technology they way they could, except in the final credits. Not quite sure why they didn’t do a better job than that. One would expect more from such a high-profile film.

So, what is this film about?

Well, as with any good comic book film, especially those that aren’t Superman, Batman, or Spider Man, we have to get the origin. The film opens with some sweeping sci-fi visuals and narration by Tomar-Re that sets up the story, much in the way the scrolling story does in the Star Wars films. After the setup, we are introduced to our main villain, Parallax, as sucks the power of fear from some alien astronauts that accidentally happen upon him in his prison, giving him the power to escape and set out for revenge.

On his way, he encounters Abin Sur, and mortally wounds him. sur is forced to set down on the nearest inhabited planet. As he is not long for the land of the living, he sends his ring to find a worthy successor. Enter, Hal Jordan, cocky test pilot who would be anything but worthy to anyone that knows him. Heck, he even cost the company he works for a big government contract and crashed a jet!

Once Hal gets transported to where Abin Sur is, he is given the ring and somewhat told what to do with it. Of course, anytime aliens crash on Earth, the government immediately sends out some sort of task force to retrieve/confront them. Hal does his best to bury the body and takes off to figure out what exactly just happened.

After playing around with the ring for a while, he stumbles upon the secret to making it work and is transported to Oa, the homebase of the Green Lantern Corps. Here, he meets Tomar-Re, who tells him that he is the first human to ever be chosen, as well as inform him of the humongous responsibility on his shoulders now.

After a quick flying lesson, Hal in thrust into combat training with Kilowog, a brutish beast of a Lantern, and then a session with Sinestro which causes him to “quit”.

Then we meet the film’s other villain, Dr. Hector Hammond, who is summoned by an unknown organization to do an autopsy on the alien. Hammond is so fascinated by it, that he doesn’t realize that he touches and is infected by the yellow energy that is Parallax. This infection leads to his gaining psychic powers, and eventually mutating his head.

Realizing that the Corps may not be able to defeat Parallax, Sinestro persuades the Guardians to commission a yellow ring and start the Yellow Lantern Corps in an effort to defeat the menace, especially after revealing that Parallax was once a Guardian who was corrupted by the power.

Hal eventually returns to Oa in an effort to sway some members of the Corps to help him defend his planet, but to no avail. He then returns to fight  Hammond and then we get the film’s climactic confrontation with Parallax.

One of the few things I didn’t like about this film was how it suffered from “origin-itis”. Many initial superhero films suffer from it…and I do mean suffer. Hopefully, if they make a sequel, they can rebound from this. I understand the need to tell the origin, but it just seemed as if they were just hell-bent on giving us every angle about Hal Jordan’s character, including a random scene with his nephew and some brief family drama with his brother, that is bogged down the first half of the movie and made it nearly unwatchable.

The other thing I didn’t care for about this film was how it spent so much time on Earth. I think I said this with Thor, too. With a character like this, who is more or less an intergalactic space cop, why in hell would you spend so much time on Earth? It just made no sense to me!

One more thing that irked me was how they didn’t really use major character the way they should have. Sinestro is a major force in the Green Lantern lexicon, going from his mentor of sorts, to his arch-nemesis. They didn’t really capitalize on that they way the could have, but they did capture his contempt for Hal.

The rest of the corps was nothing more than cameos. It was sort of like Soundwave in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. We looked forward to seeing what was going to come of them, and there was no big payoff. It really was a letdown.

The action scenes here were fantastic, especially the training sequence and the climactic battle. I would’ve liked for there to have been more, though, but was more than happy with what was in here.

Normally, I’m no fan of CGI, but in this case, it works. After all, the Green Lantern suit is actually made of pure energy, as are the constructs. These are the true selling points of the character Green Lantern. If they didn’t get those right, they might as well have not made the film. Some people have said that these were overdone. These are also the same people who judge a film based on the teaser trailer or rumors they hear on the internet. Chances are they’re probably some pimply faced 40 something year old living in their parent’s basement eating hot pockets!

I don’t think anyone could have captured Hal Jordan more perfectly than Ryan Reynolds, although you could probably make the case for Nathan Fillion. With his charm, looks, and physique, Reynolds owns the character and I look forward to seeing more.

**for my female readers…there is a scene with him in nothing but his boxer briefs that you are sure to enjoy**

When Blake Lively was cast as Carol Ferris, I had my doubts, especially when you factor in the fact that she becomes the villanous Star Sapphire. I wondered why they didn’t go with someone else like Jennifer Garner, Ali Larter, or some other actress with action and acting chops. My initial skepticism was right, as Lively is hands down one of the worst actresses I”ve seen since Megan Fox or those Twilight brats! I’ve seen stronger performances from porn stars.

Peter Sarsgard and Mark Strong give exceptionally strong performances, especially, um…Strong. Sarsgard really plays up the angle of a disturbed mad scientist who has been driven insane by the power of fear that has infected him.

Strong is every bit the perfect Sinestro. He has the look, mannerisms, condescending tone…the total package. Someone said that as good as he is, Jason Isaacs would have been better. I’m not so sure about that, but it would be interesting to see. As a matter of fact, I think Isaacs voices him in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.

Parallax is voiced by Clancy Brown, a voice that rivals that of James Earl Jones and Patrick Stewart, if you ask me. He’s a big cloud. Apparently, the filmmakers didn’t learn anything from the mistake of Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Having said that, Parallax, unlike Galactus, has no real form, so this is sort of acceptable.

Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush voice Kilowog and Tomar-Re, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, though, they were sort of underutilized. Come to think of it, I don’t recall hearing they had been cast until a couple of months ago.

I have to mention the music, briefly. Maybe it was just me, but I kept hearing inflection of the them to Superman here and there. Nothing wrong with that, it was just something my ears picked up. Perhaps that is what the composer wanted, so that people would be talking about his score.

In my post, “2010 Movie Awards“, Green Lantern earned the prestigious award of “Most Anticipated film of 2011”, a distinction that many have echoed. Did it live up to the hype? Well, for me, it could have been better, but yes, it did. I particularly liked the light-hearted tone of the picture.

I loved the direction Martin Campbell, who also directed some of my favorite films such as both Zorro flicks, takes with this film. The light-hearted tone is perfect for Green Lantern. It is important to remember that not every superhero is as dark and brooding as Batman.

Having said that, I’ve read some people call for Christopher Nolan to take over and make this a much darker film. WTF?!? Nolan is not God! The Dark Knight was good, admittedly, but it was not the best thing since sliced bread the way some people seem to think it is, so stop using it as a benchmark pice of cinema!

Every film stands on its own, as does each character. In a summer filled with superhero films, Green Lantern is sure to stand on its own two legs as something fun and different. In terms of filmmaking, it isn’t as good as X-Men: First Class, but it was more fun to watch, especially once it got going. This is a character that is a mixture of everything we love about sci-fi and the chivalry of the bygone days of the 40s. What isn’t there to love about this film? So, I guess the ultimate question is, should you go ignore what the critics have been saying and actually go see it? Hell yes! This picture, despite its flaws, is awesome! I’d gladly go see it over and over and over again! As you’ll be able to see from a post-credits scene, the sequel (if they make one) is on its way! Let the countdown begin!!!!

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!

5 out of 5 stars

The Burrowers

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

When a family of Dakota Territory pioneers is violently abducted and a posse is assembled to venture into the badlands and rescue them, the frightening truth they discover in the hills leads them to believe man may not be the only hunter stalking the Old West. The year is 1879, and beyond the fringes of civilization a handful of courageous pioneers maintain settlements while exploring the unknown territories. One night, under the shimmering Western stars, a family from one of these settlements is brutally dragged into darkness by a group of unknown invaders. At first the kidnappers are thought to be hostile Native Americans, and a posse forms to bring the family back home safely. Venturing out into the unmapped territories is an Irish immigrant desperate to find his lost love, a naïve teen eager to prove his worth, a former slave seeking his fortune after gaining his freedom, and a hardened pair of battle-weary Indian fighters. But nature’s wrath and the tomahawks of hostile tribes are not the only threats that this group will be forced to contend with, because as the bodies begin to multiply and the truth about the abductors gradually emerges, these rescuers will find out that there are forces in this world that cannot be described in human terms—and that seem to have motivations beyond our comprehension.

A species, called “Burrowers” by the Natives, used to subsist on buffalo. When white settlers depleted the buffalo, the species began to survive on human meat – first hunting nearby Indians and later the settlers. One tribe in particular, the Ute, have experience in combating the hunter-species. The “Burrowers” first lace their victims by cutting them and drugging them with a toxin. The victim is then buried alive and eaten only after decomposition has begun. By the time the film’s protagonists meet up with the Ute their number is severely depleted, but the Ute method of drugging someone already infected with “Burrower” toxin proves effective. When the “Burrowers” go to eat the twice drugged victim they themselves fall asleep and are vulnerable, especially to the rays of the sun. However, the surviving member of the posse, the Irishman Coffey, is unable to discover exactly what the Ute used to drug the “Burrowers”. The film ends with the suggestion that the “Burrower” attacks will continue. In addition to the environmental message about changing ecosystems, the film assesses prevailing attitudes towards Blacks and Natives amongst the settlers in the West, with especial focus on the brutality of the US cavalry.

REVIEW:

 Last week, I watched a Piranha 3D, a film that was so bad that it actually was sort of entertaining. Today, I decided to check out The Burrowers. My hopes were that the western setting would make up for any shortcoming this flick, which was not released in theaters, btw, would have.

I should have known better than to belive that, though. The western theme is a nice change for horror films, as most films in this genre are present day (with flashbacks here and there), but I’m not quite so sure it works. I mean, the plot would only work in this era, but something about it sort of took me out of the mindset. Granted, I’m a pretty big fan of westerns, so that may have had something to do with it, but I could be wrong.

The plot here revolves around the mysterious disappearances/murders of settlers in the Dakota territories. Said disappearances are being done by these mysterious nocturnal creatures called “burrowers” (think creatures from Tremors and Gremlins). Of course, the “white man” believes the abductions are being done by the Native Americans, which could not be further from the truth, but of course, you can’t tell stubborn men anything, can you?

The effects in this film aren’t too bad. I mean, they aren’t anything special and won’t blow you away, but at least this looks like a real film and not the cheap Sci-Fi channel type. The creatures are quite freaky looking, and the fact that we don’t really see them until near the end of the film is throwback to the classic days of horror when the idea was scarier than the actual sight of something.

The actors don’t really do anything you haven’t seen in every other horror flick. There is the one guy who you know is going to be the “survivor”, there the old guy who seems to be the leader, the cocky guy who doesn’t die soon enough, and the token black guy. Yes, the casting and characters were very formulaic, and yet, in a film like this they work, due to the dynamic between the characters.

Having said that, there is a reason no big name actors are in this picture. This script does not allow the actors to breathe, if you will. You can see on their faces that they want to do so much more with their characters. The only member of the cast who actually seem content in their roles are Sean Patrick Thomas as the free cook and Doug Hutchison and the sadistic Calvary commander.

The ending will throw you for a loop and is a true WTF?!? moment, and actually may be the best part of the film. This isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen this year, but I found myself struggling to keep focused. My ADHD aside, this flick just doesn’t keep one’s attention. For that reason, I can’t recommend it. Plus, there is a reason it wasn’t released in theaters, don’t you think? I guess, though, if you’re a horror fan, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

LexCorp’s CEO Lex Luthor has been elected President of United States during a severe nation-wide economic depression. Under his leadership, the country is returned to its former glory and a force of superheroes consisting of Captain Atom, Starfire, Katana, Black Lightning, Power Girl, and Major Force who now work for the betterment of America. His aim is to employ every superhero to work for their country, but secretly, this is so they will not work against him. Meanwhile, Superman and Batman are still fighting crime on their own and maintain the distrust toward Luthor due to the heroes’ past with him. Thus, Luthor brands them as outlaws.

The United States government discovers that a Kryptonite meteor is hurtling toward Earth. Instead of asking superheroes for aid and wanting to take credit for himself, Lex decides to destroy it with nuclear missiles. Lex arranges a meeting with Superman in Gotham City under the pretense of forming a pact. This results in a battle between the hired Metallo and Superman and Batman. Following the heroes’ escape, Metallo is killed by an unknown assailant. Later that night, Lex pins Metallo’s murder on Superman, using footage of their battle to implicate him. Lex claims that the radiation being emitted by the meteor is affecting The Man of Steel’s judgment, and places a one-billion-dollar bounty on Superman’s head.

While breaking into S.T.A.R. Labs, seeking information on the meteor, Batman and Superman find Metallo’s remains and realize that intense radiation has killed him. They are then attacked by an army of villains looking to collect on the bounty. The army includes: Silver Banshee, Captain Cold, Icicle, Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, Gorilla Grodd, Bane, Black Manta, Black Spider, Brimstone, Catman, Cheetah, Copperhead, Deadshot, Despero, Giganta, Girder, King Shark, Lady Shiva, Mongul, Captain Boomerang, Nightshade, Parasite, and Solomon Grundy. After some effort, most of the villains are defeated.

The remaining villains are defeated by Captain Atom, who has arrived with Lex’s superhero team to arrest Superman. All but Power Girl, whose loyalties are divided, attempt to capture Superman and Batman. Superman create a hurricane using his superspeed, and the two heroes escape with Power Girl.

In Metropolis, Power Girl admits that she feels threatened by Lex, and doesn’t believe Superman killed Metallo. Lex’s superheroes catch up and the fight begins again, this time with Power Girl aiding Superman and Batman. The Dark Knight realizes that Major Force killed Metallo under Luthor’s orders and goads him into admitting it in front of everyone. In anger, Power Girl punches him in the stomach with so much force that it ruptures his containment suit. Captain Atom, ashamed at his complicity in Lex’s misdeeds, absorbs the energy, disintegrating Major Force and injuring him in the process.

Meanwhile, Lex’s missiles fail to stop the meteor. Amanda Waller discovers that Lex has secretly been taking kryptonite steroids, which impairs his judgment. Lex decides to let the meteor hit the Earth so that he may rule what remains behind. Batman and Superman break into Lex’s lab to retrieve data on the meteor’s radiation. They end up in battle with Captain Marvel and Hawkman, eventually emerging victorious with Power Girl’s aid. Though Lex is unwilling to relinquish the data, Waller gives them a copy. Batman and Superman fly off to Tokyo to give the meteor’s data to a teen super-genius who is the Japanese Toyman. Waller tries to have Lex arrested, but he injects himself with more kryptonite steroids and dons a power suit. After escaping Waller and the military, Lex then follows Superman and Batman.

Toyman has built a rocket-propelled spacecraft, intending to use it as a powerful missile to stop the meteor. The ship resembles a giant, robotic composite version of Superman and Batman. With the data, Toyman is able to calculate the necessary reinforcements needed for his own rocket so it won’t explode before impact, as Luthor’s missiles did. Lex arrives and disables the remote guidance systems. Batman volunteers to fly the ship himself, despite Superman’s protests. In an aerial battle, though initially fairing poorly against Lex and his kryptonite power suit, Superman defeats Luthor in the streets of Metropolis. Captain Atom arrives and grabs Luthor. Batman succeeds in destroying the meteor, and Superman finds him alive and well in an escape pod.

With the truth of Metallo’s death public knowledge, Superman is cleared of the murder charge and Luthor is arrested.

REVIEW:

Wow! Batman and Superman team up. Can anyone stop them? Apparently, the corrupt government with Lex Luthor as president can, not to mention this subpar writing.

Let me get to the pros first. This is based on the comic storyline of the same name, and they draw heavily from that, as other DC animated films have done, watering down some of the violence and themes and such to make them more “kid-friendly”. The animation seems to be a mixture of the old school style that is currently seen in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the current style they are using. Surprisingly, this makes for some beautiful animation.

The character design is pretty good, though I think both Batman and Superman looked a bit gaunt at times. Sure they had 6 pack abs and muscles on top of muscles, but they also looked a bit skinny. Maybe its just me, though.

Power Girl really caught my attention for a couple of reasons. I do belive she is the bustiest character DC has ever done. I’m not complaining, but I do wonder what made them do that. I don’t know much about the character, so it is totally possible that I just need to go pick up a book and look for her.

On to the cons…the adaptation of this story isn’t the greatest, but at the same time it isn’t the worse. The main issue is that they try to cram it into a very small window and end up losing some of the lustre. Also, they rush the whole frame up and Power Girl becoming a “traitor”, but take their sweet time with Toyman and the Kryptonite meteor. In other words, they try to include too much into this short film. They should have either picked better parts to focus on for the film, or made it a little longer.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was a disappointment for me. I expected so much more from this, especially following the amazing job DC did with Green Lantern: First Flight and Wonder Woman. I guess you can’t win them all, but the difference between this film and its two predecessors is like night and day. Sure, it is a good watch and entertaining, if you’re a comic fan, for those that have no prior comic knowledge I can see this being extremely boring. Also, for die hard comic fans, I can just see this pissing off fanboys left and right because of things that were left out. It happens, no way around it. Basically, this is just an average animated superhero flick. sure, its worth watching, but it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t see it.

3 out of 5 stars