Author Archives: Eugene

About Eugene

I'm currently trying to get back to my original weight of 7 Pounds and 6 ounces. yeah it's an uphill battle... I am a purveyor of many genres and mediums, from comics and anime, to movies and television shows. I'll get anything a shot and if it's good I'll praise it, and if it's bad... I'll be brutally honest. And I love frozen yogurt, I will always seek some out after a meal.

Review: Inside Out – Get Outta Your Head, and into this One

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Inside Out is the latest Pixar film, it’s mostly set in the mind of a young girl named Riley, and how emotions lead her through life as she handles a move from Minnesota to San Francisco. These emotions are; Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. Inside Out is directed by Pete Docter, with the writing credits going to Docter, again, and Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, with story by Docter and Ronnie del Carmen.
The film stars; Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith.

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Review: Tomorrowland – Great, Big, Beautiful

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Tomorrowland is about a place that only a select few are allowed to go to, Frank Walker (George Clooney) went and was kicked out, now Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) gets her chance to go there. In Tomorrowland, events affect our world and vice-versa, but as to the extent… that’s up to our main characters. The film is co-written and directed by Brad Bird.

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Review: Mad Max: Fury Road – from the man that brought you Babe and Happy Feet

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Mad Max: Fury Road is a post apocalyptic action ride through Australia. This is the fourth Mad Max film and serves as a reboot, but also not really. The story and the characters stay the same, only the actors have changed. Max gets dragged into the middle of an uprising against a tyrannical leader in the midst of a vast desert. George Miller once again helms this film serving as the director and one of the writers (and yes he did direct Babe and Happy Feet). The film stars; Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult.

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Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron – The Summer Has Assembled!

Avengers: Age of Ultron is about our favorite superhero team venturing out on another mission to save the world, in this case, it’s a mechanized creation that that’s highly intelligent, highly resourceful, and highly charismatic. The film is written and directed by the great Joss Wheadon, and stars an all-star cast; Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson. It opened at $187.7 million this weekend.

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Review: Ex Machina – What the Deus!?

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Ex Machina is about a guy who’s working on creating the most advance artificial intelligence out there. He brings in an outsider to “test” his newest creation. The film is written and directed by Alex Garland, you may know him from 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Never Let Me Go.

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Review: Chappie – Johnny 5 for a new generation

Finally got around to seeing Chappie. After the critics panned it, and those great trailers, and the poor opening weekend, I waited and I waited, and waited…
Chappie is about a robotic police force in South Africa, but one of these robots gains sentience. Throw in a pair of rap/pop artists who play gangsters and Wolverine as the antagonist and that’s what you get.

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Review: Daredevil – no Affleck here…

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Daredevil premiered on Netflix last week. Took me a while to get more than one episode in, but I’m liking it. For those who don’t know, Daredevil is about a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox) who lives in Hell’s Kitchen in New York. When he’s not practicing law he’s keeping the city safe by beating up bad guys.

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Review: McFarland, USA – Coming in for the win

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McFarland, USA is a sports drama that based on the true story of the McFarland high school cross country team. The team is made up of Mexican-Americans and they’re the underdogs in a more privileged sporting event. The film is directed by Niki Caro and stars Kevin Costner as Jim White, the white coach that brings this Mexican-American team together.

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Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service – tailored suits tailored to good action

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Kingsman: The Secret Service is about a super secret spy group comprised of gentleman whose codenames are that of the Knights of the Roundtable. They’re on a mission to stop Samuel L. Jackson as he lisps his way to mass genocide, throw in slick action sequences and over the top violence with an underdog recruit, and that’s what we have here.

The good; the movie is just fun, it knows what it is and goes with it, meaning, it self references itself and almost winks at the audience. From the opening credits, you know what you’re getting.
The movie is rated R and it really earned a hard R rating. But back to being fun, it’s everything we’ve grown to know about Mark Millar (who wrote the graphic novel the film is based on), he takes a teenage boys’ angst and cathartically channels it through media. Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is recruited by agent Harry Hart to be a Kingsman, Eggsy is the typical teenage male with a chip on his shoulder, but through this training he learns to shot guns and kill the bad guys, what boy doesn’t want that??

Eggsy is played by Taron Egerton, and he does a great job carrying this movie. I’ve never seen Egerton in anything else, to me he’s an unknown, Matthew Vaughn took a gamble casting him in the lead role for this movie, and it paid off.

Harry Hart is played by Colin Firth, a job well done playing the gentleman spy/agent/killer. Mark Strong as a mentor is a nice change of pace, really compliments the who group.

The bad; other than Mark Millar’s creative works being made by the devil spawn that is 20th century fox international distribution management…
There were some bad effects shots. They probably had to trim the budget in certain areas, but it was the small stuff that stuck out. Put aside the over the top violence, I’m talking stuff that you don’t normally take a second glance at, but when done hap-hazardly sticks out. The example that comes to mind is the brick wall in the elevator in to the secret chamber, obvious green screen. And some of the shots when the private plane lands in the mountain headquarters… just odd.

*SPOILERS* Oh and there’s a thing that happens with President Obama in this movie that felt… wrong. I get it that all the world leaders are in on the devious plot, but we should’ve seen some of the others suffering from the same fate. It just didn’t sit with me very well, hahaha, I guess I am patriotic. *END SPOILERS*

I haven’t read the source material, but I was hoping that the movie would be about a group of gentleman secret agents fighting the bad guys in tailored suits, oh well.

Overall, very fun, there hasn’t been a fun secret agent movie in a while. Kingsman does a great job in being meta and calling out that “this isn’t that type of movie,” where villains spout off their entire plan while they have the hero captured. The casting is brilliant. The action is sublime. The suits are tailored.
Oh and there’s a scene at a Kentucky church where things go extremely wrong and agent Hart is in the middle of it, he does something very irredeemable and pays the price. It’s shocking but yet justified, bravo for that.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a cover to a song we all know, but it’s a great cover.

Review: American Sniper – Legend, the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military history

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American Sniper is a biographical/action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It’s about Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper and his tour in Iraq. The film is based off of the book of the same name.

The good; the movie does a good job of not focusing too much on war, we get enough flashbacks and time away from the middle east to balance out the intensity of fighting a war.

Bradley Cooper does a superb job as Chris Kyle. There’s a scene right at the beginning of the movie where he has to make a decision on who to shoot, Cooper does well in giving us the struggle that goes on inside of him. Then when he’s back home stateside we get the sense of him not belonging in civilian life, how difficult it is for him to adjust.
I believed that Cooper was Kyle throughout the film.

The action sequences are great. They aren’t overly bloody and gratuitous, but they’re appropriate for the horrors that go on in war.

Clint Eastwood knows how to direct conflicted characters, which makes his movies all the more compelling. Our main characters are developed and three dimensional, not these cardboard cut outs that pass for leading roles these days.

The audience at this screening was very well behaved, it was like a Christmas present to myself, everyone was attentive from the moment go until the end (oh the end credits, what a great tribute to Kyle’s life). This is how movies should be viewed in the theatres.

The bad; I’d have to place Sienna Miller here, it was unbelievable that she was pregnant. I found myself not connecting with the scenes she was in when Kyle was back home… maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be though?

Overall, I would go see American Sniper in the theatres. It’s only in limited release at the moment, but once it goes wide in January, go check it out. When they say all war movies are anti-war movies, this is the prime example. What’s more is that when you watch this film you’ll learn about an American Hero and the toll that took on his life.
Excellent film, I enjoyed every moment of it, bravo to Bradley Cooper, I might go as far to say I smell an Oscar nom.

 

Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – back again?

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the last installment in The Hobbit trilogy. It starts off where the last “film” left off, Bilbo witnesses Smaug incinerating Laketown while Thorin and his band of dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain. Stuff happens and armies are amassed to take the treasures from Erebor. Friendships are tested, strengths are tested, skills are tested, computer capacity to render is tested and my interested is tested.

The good; the actors do a great job, Martin Freeman as Bilbo is wonderful, he brings a great humanity to the role. Ian McKellen as Gandalf is perfect, I can’t imagine anyone else for this role.

This film actually has stakes, Thorin’s obsession for the Arkenstone is both believe-able and tragically relate-able. The threat of life ending situations is actually realized in this final film, that’s what was missing from the previous installments.

The bad; the movie is basically battle porn. It’s scene upon scene of armies battling. It’s like a Michael Bay film (not a good thing) set in a fantasy realm. In the first five minutes of the film we get a climactic scene worthy of the third act… where do we go from here? Well, if it was like The Empire Strikes Back we’d focus on the inner character struggles and build up to a third act climax that deals with an emotional show down. Sadly in The Battle of the Five Armies the character stuff gets pushed aside with all the battle scenes upon battle scenes.

No more songs in this movie?? Ahem, lost opportunity.

Overall, catch it on tv or rent it to close the trilogy out.

Also, no talking during the movie.

 

 

 

Review: Interstellar – to infinity and beyond!

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Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s latest film. It’s a science fiction adventure about a team of NASA astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of an inhabitable planet, because Earth is dying.
Directed by Nolan, written by Nolan and Jonathan Nolan.

The good; I love the robots. As I’ve mentioned, it’s robot season. In the film there are two main robots, TARS and CASE, they’re reminiscent of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but they’re move-able with separating joints to make limbs and other shapes, it’s like a big shapes puzzle. The AI that makes these robots have a personality also reminds me of B.O.B. and V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from The Black Hole. I just love that the designs are practical versus form and elegance.

The portrayal of the worm hole was stunning. The visuals in this movie are amazing, you have to go see it on the big screen.

For an adventure movie there sure are a lot of emotional moments. The actors do a great job with these scenes.

The bad; the sound design was a little much in some areas, meaning that the score and the sound effects over powered the dialog. It was hard to hear at times.

For a science based movie, they used “love” as a factor. When the scientists have to make a choice of where to go next, one of them uses love to convince the others… that only hurt her argument. It felt out of place, perhaps a little more set up could’ve made that flow better?

There’s a “plot twist” in the second act, don’t want to say too much, but it felt a bit forced.

People are just dumb, it’s getting increasingly harder to watch a movie in a theatre and enjoy it. Here’s a line from one such “patron”… “I didn’t pay $15 to have a squeaky chair.” To which my reply was, “I didn’t pay $15 to have you fidgeting in your chair the whole movie.”

Overall, I had a good time, I don’t want to say too much about the plot for fear of spoiling it. After seeing the film it elicits conversations, and that’s good here.
The premise reminds me of The Black Hole, the robots remind me of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the music reminds me of Philip Glass, space travel and the video messaging is very much like Alien and Aliens, the special effects remind me of Tree of Life, the second act reminds me of Sunshine, the third act’s reveal reminds me of Gundamand so on… If you were to do a double feature, I would pair Interstellar with Big Hero 6, strictly for the visuals.