Postmortem: Pacific Rim (2013)

Screenshot 2016-01-01 14.04.32.pngWelcome to the first post of the New Year!  I figured that I’d go back in time to rewatch Guillermo del Toro’s giant robots versus monsters epic, Pacific Rim.

If you ask me the true test of whether or not a movie is a good one is that of time, namely if it can stand up well to repeated viewings.

And despite the fact that del Toro’s Pacific Rim underwhelmed domestically–the bulk of its $400 billion dollar box office was due to its popularity internationally–it’s damn enjoyable and stands up to revisiting very well.

Continue reading

Colony, Ep. 1 – Review

Screenshot 2015-12-23 21.34.30.pngWhen we first meet Will Bowman (Josh Halloway) he’s preparing breakfast–or at least attempting to–for his family, that consists of his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies, most recently of The Walking Dead) and three children, before he heads out to work.

Though one of his sons is missing, and Will is doing all he can to put on a brave face for his family.

The feeling that things aren’t quite right not only with the Bowman family, but the world they live in, permeates Colony.  People barter for the most basic goods and Los Angeles is under martial law, and is surrounded by a huge wall evocative of John Carpenter’s underrated Escape From L.A.

And if that weren’t bad enough, order is maintained by a mysterious black-suited military force of unknown origin.

The how’s and why’s are revealed grudgingly so, while there isn’t yet enough information to understand what’s happened and why things are as they are, it adds an extra level of interest beyond people making do the  best they can in what amounts to a police state.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 21.25.16.png

Carlton Cuse, the prolific producer of The Strain and Lost, has created a future that visually resembles our own (though the technology in some instances is a bit more advanced) but with the addition of an unknown threat that has turned the place where dreams are made into a nightmare.

Colony premiers January 14 on USA.

Blackhat – Trailer

Isn’t it remarkable what a few days can bring?  A few weeks ago, a thriller like Michael Mann‘s Blackhat–a movie that revolves around about Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) a cyber criminal released from prison to counter the threat of a cyber terrorist with the ability to bring a nation to its collective knees–would probably have been an interesting diversion and little else, till Sony Pictures was hacked and thousands of no longer private emails and social security numbers were released.

Imagine how devastating such an attack could potentially be if it were aimed at our infrastructure instead, which we hopefully won’t have to discover any time soon.

Though what’s sort of interesting in reference to the trailer is that the unseen terrorist sounds strangely like Trevor Slattery/faux Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) from Iron Man 3, which makes me wonder if this is some sort of unofficial sequel (It’s not, but the idea that Mann might be in the superhero business makes it more than worth the scorn such a comment might traditionally elicit).

Blackhat isn’t the type of movie that I would traditionally see, but I have to admit that I am a bit curious.

‘Jurassic World’ Official Trailer

The full trailer for Jurassic World was released a few hours ago, and the first thing I noticed was that it’s produced with Legendary Pictures, which was unexpected.

What was also a bit unusual was that lots of people being literally eaten by exhibits in the last two films didn’t seem to faze the backers this time around, because they not only come up with an even grander dinosaur-based theme park, but they have cooked up a dinosaur that has no precedent in Nature.

Yeah, let’s create a new type of dinosaur that’s undoubtably faster, stronger and more intelligent that the dumber dinosaurs that turned people to kibble in the last movies.

What could possibly go wrong?

And you thought that GMO‘s (genetically modified organisms) were problematic.

‘As Above, So Below’ Review

 

As Above, So Below movie poster

As Above, So Below, let’s be clear, isn’t a particularly good movie, but it is a damned entertaining one.

The story, such as it is, revolves around Scarlett (Perdida Weeks), who’s searching for the clues that would lead her to the Philosopher’s Stone, which I should mention that her father was also searching for, before he hung himself.

Bad omens aside,  Scarlett is accustomed to going where saner heads refuse to tread, so she charges on and eventually makes her way to Paris, where a vital clue to her quest awaits.

As Above, So Below is also a found footage movie, despite the film not being found by anyone (which is a little odd, when you think about it).

John Erick Dawdle also directed Devil and Quarantine, and while those are both better films, they’re not nearly as frenetic or fun.  Though what’s curious about the film is thatthere’s a campiness, a silliness to As Above, So Below that I am not sure is not was deliberate.

For instance, there’s a scene that I call the ‘creepy woman inside the club’ scene, that is so silly–and I mean laugh out loud silly–that I couldn’t imagine what was going through Dawdle’s mind when he filmed it.  There’s even a later scene–when Scarlett and her gang are exploring the Catacombs of Paris–that is almost as silly (you’ll know it when you see, or hear, it).

The first scene I can see as a mistake that just slipped by the director.  The second…I wasn’t sure what’s going on.  Maybe he’s channelling his inner Joel Schumacher or something (in the sense of camp because Schumacher never did anything so odd by accident).

So As Above, So Below when all is said and done, in terms of the total package, is a bit lacking.  That being said, it’s fun, and besides–you probably already seen Guardians of the Galaxy (twice)it’s worth checking out.

And if anyone could stomach the Transformers (Any of them.  Take your pick), this’ll be walk in the park.  Or maybe a climb in the cave.

‘The Pyramid’ Trailer

The found footage horror movie, The Pyramid, makes a point of mentioning that it’s produced by Alexandre Aja, the director of the reboot of The Hills Have Eyes (possibly the most ‘wholesome’ horror film I have ever seen), Mirrors and High Tension, among others.  What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s directed by Grégory Lavasseur, who’s Aja’s writing partner.   

In other words, what’s being implied is that you’ll somehow find the movie terrifying because of the influence of Aja, though looking at the trailer, I am not at all certain.

And while I think it’s just a coincidence, the trailer seems quite similar to Legendary’s As Above, So Below (both apparently feature people spending time running in terror through subterranean caverns), which is probably not a good thing.

 

‘Dracula Untold’ Trailer

I have to admit that when I heard of the central idea behind Gary Shore‘s Dracula Untold–essentially the story of Vlad Tepes before he became Dracula–the first thing that crossed my mind was:  “Who cares?  People don’t watch Dracula movies for what he was before he became a vampire!”

Then again, Vlad Tepes isn’t just anyone.  What we know historically about the man is arguably as interesting as anything in Bram Stoker‘s novel, Dracula.  He was supposed to be a warrior of remarkable, in fact legendary, brutality and cruelty–impaling enemies on stakes was a particular favorite–and he was supposedly without mercy.

Dracula Untold appears to take a similar tact as Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 Dracula, namely treating the character as more of an anti-hero than an outright villain.

By the way, doesn’t Luke Evans look just like Doctor Strange?  Scott Derrickson‘s Marvel Studios movie hasn’t been cast yet (as far as I am aware) but he’s the splitting image of the character from the comics.