‘Pacific Rim’ Review

Pacific Rim

“Guillermo Del Toro approaches giant robots and monsters with a genuine love for the subject matter, and it shows on the screen.”

I saw Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” yesterday evening, and enjoyed myself immensely.  He seems to understand that, if it’s just about the robots, you might as well make a ‘Transformers’ sequel and call it a day.

Which is why he tries to make it about people as well, which I’ll go into a bit more later.

The film revolves around a rift that opens in the Pacific Ocean.  This rift is a doorway for strange, alien creatures called kaiju, which appear without rhyme or reason and seem to exist exclusively to menace humanity.

Initially, we respond to this threat by creating giant robots, called jaegers (German for ‘hunter’) that are controlled by two pilots (the scheme works by each pilot controlling half of a hemisphere of the giant robot’s “brain”) via “The Drift,” a method for the minds of the pilots to bridge their individuality, and act as one.

As the film begin, we witness the destruction of the American jaeger – the jaeger program is a world effort, so I assume that there are, or were, robots representing nations other than America, Russia, Australia (or was that New Zealand, I am not sure) and China – known as Gipsy Danger.

The jaegar program is abandoned for, pardon the pun, monstrous walls which would surround costal cities, though this doesn’t go well because the kaiju seem to be increasing in strength and ferocity.

What surprised me most about ‘Rim’ was the way that Guillermo Del Toro kept working humor into the film.  Speaking of which, Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”) and Burn Gorman (“Torchwood,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) were extremely welcome as two scientists working on a parallel track to determine when and why the kaiju attacked.

And it wouldn’t be a Del Toro film if Ron Perlman didn’t make an appearance (as a criminal specializing in the selling of kaiju organs).

Continue reading

Brian’s ‘Truth Or Die’ Review Or ‘Why I Didn’t See The Latest Start Trek Movie This Weekend’

I was planning on catching “Star Trek: Into Darkness” this weekend, till the mild sneezing and runny nose I was experiencing throughout last week bloomed to a full-on cold.  As a result, I have spent the entire weekend in my apartment, doing as little as I could till I get over this.

My condition seemed somehow in sync with the weather, with periods of rain and clarity all weekend.

For better or worse I can always tell when I am about to get sick.  I get headaches, which I never get otherwise; my nose aches and stings and I get congested when I try to sleep. My cold made landfall yesterday, and despite knowing what was coming, it still knocked me for a loop.

So I have been watching a lot of “Archer” on Netflix.  I have already seen all the episodes there, but it rewards repeat viewings.

I had seen most of the horror films on Netflix that I considered worth viewing, though there were a few that I haven’t yet seen.

“Truth Or Die” was one of them.

Continue reading

New ‘Pacific Rim’ Trailer

I assume that this footage for Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” is from the last Comic-con.  It shows the most detail of the robots yet, as well as a bit of character development.

And I can’t see why Michael Bay would ever be worried by ‘Rim,’ after all, if the trailers are to be believed, it looks much better than any of his Transformers films.

Escape From New York: Whiny Bastard Edition

Escape From New York

Welcome to the first ‘Whiny Bastard Edition’ of Screenphiles, where I do a little venting about film makers doing things that they probably shouldn’t.

I was at work when I heard of the latest plan to remake John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York”–which was (essentially) already remade–in space–by James Mathers and Stephen St. Leger’s in their 2007 film “Lockout”–and I had to restrain the almost overwhelming desire to go on a very unseemly rant.

Less for my own benefit, because I have been known to curse like a sailor, than for the people around me, who would (probably) narc me out as soon as convenient.

What bothers me most is that I wonder why Carpenter isn’t being given first dibs.  He hasn’t done anything since  2010′s “The Ward,” and I miss seeing his work on screen.

Here’s the trailer for the original film, which if you haven’t seen, rent it.

Now.  After all, it’s not like there’s anything worth watching on network TV.

Chris Pratt Is Marvel’s Starlord in ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’

ImageMarvel Studios and James Gunn have found their Starlord, and he is Chris Pratt.

Most recently he’s starred in “Zero Dark Thirty” as well as “Parks and Recreation” on NBC.

I haven’t seen ‘Zero Dark’ and don’t watch “Parks and Recreation,” so I have no idea who this guy is, though after reading on various movie web sites, he appears to have a following.

Sometimes When There’s Smoke, (There’s Someone Making Much Ado Out Of Nothing)

This morning, I decided to see how much Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” cost to produce.  Box Office Mojo didn’t list its production costs, but with a modicum of searching I learned that the budget was probably around $250 million (most of which you can see on screen).

Now, my whining comes in after I read a story from Business Insider, a site I normally like quite a bit, which implies that Jackson’s film isn’t tracking on par with his ‘Rings’ films.  The article also implies that all is gloom and door as far as the two sequels are concerned (‘The Hobbit’ is the first in a trilogy).

This is beyond nonsense.  If only because it has already earned, worldwide, over $622 million dollars, and will probably be going strong well into the new year.  Now keep in mind, we’re talking a production budget of only (!) $250 million, so I fully expect that it will earn at least $700 million (and I am probably being conservative) before its theater run ends.

And that’s not including profits from DVD sales, streaming deals, and venues like iTunes.

Though admittedly an important part of this equation is that the each of the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ films squeaked in for under $200 million, which means that for the costs of almost the ENTIRE first three films you get–almost–one ‘Hobbit.”

Looking at the finished product, I think that it’s a bargain.  This latest film seems better assembled, more accomplished and significantly more fun than any of the prior three films.

And that has to count for something.

Transformers 4 (Or Mediocrity Is Its Own Reward)

Transformers 4
Michael Bay is rebooting the Transformers franchise, with Mark Wahlberg replacing Shia LaBeouf, though I am not entirely sure the casting change will make a whit of difference.

That’s a pity because, if another director were to take the helm, it’s quite possible that we would get something new and engaging this time around.

And I get that the ‘Transformers’ films have made a gazillion dollars.  That doesn’t mean that they were any good, only that they were viewed by lots of people.

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that what viewers are going to get this time around will be exactly the same things that the first three films delivered in spades, which was:  lots of explosions, (admittedly cool, for the most part) special effects and minimal character development.

The thing is, there’s a third path:  The first entry was written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman; the second by Orci, Kurtzman and Ehren Kruger, and the third by Ehren Kruger alone.

If someone were to take on the writing chores that actually cared about character development, then maybe the end result will make more of an impression on viewers for reasons that have more to do with the number of explosions per frame.

And yeah, the image above is the logo for the upcoming film.  It’s pretty lame, if you ask me.

Vampires Don’t Sparkle

I was talking to a cashier at my local Trader Joe’s while he rang up my order.  Our conversation eventually moved on to movies, so I asked him if he had seen “Skyfall”–if you haven’t, see it.  It’s that good–He said he had, and had liked it.

He then mentioned that he was really excited about the upcoming ‘Twilight’ film, which caused me to break into laughter.  You have to understand that I haven’t seen any of them (nor do I have any intention to), but when I heard that the vampires, under certain circumstances, sparkled, I knew right then that ‘Twilight’ wasn’t for me.

My vampires are tortured creatures, sometimes with the most evil of intentions, sometimes not; though they are always fighting the urge, the desire to indulge their thirst.  The cause of their condition may be viral, spread by blood, or they may be the spawn of an angel fallen from Heaven’s grace.

Though what vampires never, ever do, is sparkle.

I also thought that I’d mention that vampires aren’t capable of sexual reproduction. This is because they’re either demonic in nature, or dead.  It also makes no sense because  it defeats the whole ’spreading vampirism by bite’ thing.

The New Cybermen

Cybermen image courtes of Den Of Geek

I am not a huge Doctor Who fan, though on occasion I did watch some of the Tom Baker episodes.  I hindsight I probably wasn’t more into the good Doctor because, like most British series of the time, the quality of the special effects and sets were usually bad (they did the best with what they had, but still).

Nowadays, the special effects have improved significantly, though there are other factors that I about the series that I am not too crazy about.  For instance, during Russell Davies’ run, there was too much of an emphasis of the sexuality of various characters, which often worked to the detriment of whatever was going on in the episode itself.

It’s like nipples on the Batsuit–which has nothing to do with Doctor Who, but bear with me–sure you can do it, but why you would want to is beyond me.

This uneasy mix of sexuality, drama, and scifi was expanded in the Doctor Who spin-off, “Torchwood,” also created by Russell Davies.

Doctor Who has many enemies, though none were as threatening as the Daleks–though I cannot consider something threatening that  looks like some sort of waste container with a plunger attached to it.

Now the Cybermen, they were my sort of enemy.  Logical…efficient…deadly.

They made an appearance in Davies’ “Doctor Who,” and it looks like they are about to return in an episode written by fan favorite Neil Gaiman.

Here’s an image to whet your appetite, and more can be found at the Den Of Geek.