Archives for posts with tag: alien

Grade D +

Manny’s Movie Musings: It should be called “Independence Day: Regurgitation.”  The same director; the same logical flaws; the same unfunny jokes; the same main actors; the same aliens…I’d be okay with the same of many things except all the logical flaws of the story.  Okay, first the plot: it’s been 20 years since the original invasion, and humans have merged alien tech with human tech, and we now have super duper military hardware.  People think they have what it takes to defend against another attack, but they are mistaken.  From the aliens’ home world comes a ship that is 3,000 miles wide, ready to destroy us pesky humans.  But the aliens didn’t count on one thing: a screenplay so full of plot holes that the aliens are sure to be defeated in the most stupid and ridiculous ways.  “Independence Day: Resurgence” is just one big shenanigan of a movie.  For example: the mother ship, at 3,000 miles wide, has its own gravitational pull.  It destroys anything that it flies over…sooooo…why not just do a fly-by over the entire surface of Earth and wipe out the humans?  Hey, don’t look at me…ask the 5 screenwriters — which includes the director — whose combined talent (or lack thereof) couldn’t see that most of this movie made no sense.  I have to admit though: “ID: R” was somewhat amusing.  Not exactly a glowing recommendation for a $165 million dollar project (plus the cost of distribution).  My most memorable, movie moment of “ID: R” would be the final seconds of the movie when it is clear Roland Emmerich is thinking about another “ID” movie.  If there is anyone deserving of a painful, alien, anal probe, it is Emmerich.

— M

Grade B

In the realm of comic book characters, no match-up is more famous and argued over than Batman versus Superman.  Director Zack Snyder’s interpretation of this fight between two of the most famous comic book heroes is…good.  That’s a compliment, right?  Sort of.  For a movie that costs about $250 million (plus the cost of film prints and the shipping of these prints, and advertising expenses), this had better be a great movie.  So in one sense, it is a success because it made a lot of money — and will continue to do so — but in another sense it is a failure because it didn’t live up to its hype nor potential.

With a running time of about 2 1/2 hours, much is crammed into this movie — way too much, actually.  I’ll give you a quick rundown on this bloated movie.  The “introduction” of Superman (played by Henry Cavill) is a rehash of the ending of “Man Of Steel,” where Metropolis undergoes a severe renovation thanks to Cavill’s fight with General Zod and his henchmen and one henchwoman.  Of course, mere mortals die by the thousands.  Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, sees the destruction and deaths firsthand; and from that moment on, he sees Cavill as an alien who is too powerful and cannot be trusted to use his powers always for good.   Thus starts Affleck’s plan to fight and kill Cavill before Cavill has the chance to destroy Earth should he have a bad day.  Oh, and there’s the story about Wonderwoman, a weird version of Lex Luthor which was like a mix of The Joker/The Riddler, a mutant abomination called Doomsday, etc., etc.  As I said, bloated.

But “Batman v Superman” does deliver on the goods, which is the fight between these heroes.  Loosely adapted from the mini-series comic books “The Dark Knight Returns,” the fight between Affleck and Cavill is amazing, and will surely have every comic book fan of Batman and Superman salivating and grinning.  It’s the rest of the movie that has audiences sharply divided: half say it was boring and nonsensical, the other half say it was good, albeit far from perfect.

What do I say?  Yes, many parts of this movie was slow, but I never found it boring.  They were needed to tell the story, to build up the characters and their motivations.  In fact, scenes that showed Affleck’s and Cavill’s human side (the best and worst parts of us) were some of my favorite scenes.  It’s how “B v S” made me feel that was the most important to me; and this movie made me feel the anger, sadness, jealousy, rage, confusion, fear, love, friendship, trust, and hope that the characters in “B v S” felt.  This is the true appeal of this movie, because without it, we just have two guys hitting each other while wearing outfits that would look fabulous in a gay pride parade.

Third place for my memorable moments category of this movie is the scene when Wonderwoman (played by Gal Gadot) looks at files of “metahumans” and sees Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.  Justice League, here we come!

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cavill and Affleck finally start their fight with each other.  Unfortunately, it starts off comically as Cavill taps Affleck and Affleck gets thrown like a beetle getting flicked by someone’s finger.

First place for my memorable, movie moments of “Batman v Superman” is **SPOILER ALERT** the scene when Batman is about to kill Superman with a kryptonite pointed spear.  Superman, barely able to talk, begs Batman to save Martha, Martha being Superman’s mother.  Batman thinks Superman is referring to Martha Wayne, who is Batman’s dead mother.  When Batman finally realizes whom Superman is speaking of, he sees the human side of Superman.  Instead of viewing him as a dangerous alien, Batman now sees Superman as a good son desperate to save his mom, the way Batman always wished he could save his mom — and dad — from that tragic night when he was a boy.  And just like that, the Dawn of Justice begins.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has its flaws, yes; but the emotional points of the movie hit hard and true.  And the fight between Batman and Superman…that glorious fight that comic book fans have only seen in cartoons and comics…it is a dream come true.

— M

Three college kids, two of whom are sweethearts (played by Brenton Thwaites and Olivia Cooke) are on a road trip to bring Cooke to her new college; and along the way they are taunted by a computer hacker whom the 3 young people track down to some crappy house in a crappy part of the desert…at night!  And if you haven’t already guessed, the 3 youngsters are white. Oh, white people in horror movies, when will you ever learn?

Well, the trap is set.  Cooke disappears from the car, the 2 guys look for her, they catch a glimpse of her standing outside in the dark, and her body is snatched up into the sky by an invisible force.  Loud noises and bright lights follow, then darkness.­­­  Thwaites finds himself in a wheelchair, dazed, unable to move his legs, and being interrogated by Laurence Fishburne, who wears a biohazard suit.

So, what do we have here?  Did the 3 young people encounter an E.T.?  Are they part of some elaborate hoax?  Maybe a government experiment?  These are all questions I had going through my twisted mind; and they will be going through your own minds when you watch “The Signal.”  It is a small, indie movie, but it’s a solid suspense/thriller/sci-fi flick. It does move slowly in the first act, though, so bear with that and give it a chance.  I believe you’ll find it’s worth your time.

One of my most memorable moments of this movie is the scene when it is revealed why Thwaites has a hard time moving his legs.  Shocking!  Plus I couldn’t help wanting to keep looking at what happened to him.  Kind of like a car accident, I suppose.

Coming in at the top of the list for my most memorable, movie moment of “The Signal” is the scene at the end that revealed to me what is really going on.  That’s all I can say about that without being an ass and revealing too much.

One last thing: have you noticed how big Fishburne’s face has become in the past 10 years?  Actually, his whole head.  I’m surprised they found a helmet that fit him.

— M

Combine “Starship Troopers” with “Groundhog Day” and you have a good idea of what “Edge of Tomorrow” is about.

In the near future, alien creatures called Mimics have invaded the Earth, quickly taking over and destroying much of Europe.  A United Defense Force has been created, comprising of armies of multiple nations.  Hmmm…why not just use NATO?  Anyway, the UDF has created a battle suit that looks like the robotic loaders that is in the movie “Aliens.”  With these battle suits, and a bad-ass female soldier (a very fit and toned Emily Blunt) who is an expert at killing Mimics, the UDF finally has a fighting chance against the alien invaders.

“Wait a minute,” you’re probably asking.  Isn’t Tom Cruise’s character the bad-ass, the last hope of Earthlings?  Nope, not for the first act; and that is what makes “Edge of Tomorrow” a very nice surprise for me.  This is the first Cruise movie that I’ve seen where he is a coward.  Despite being an officer in the US military and the poster child for getting others to sign up for the UDF and giving their lives to save the Earth, Cruise has no combat experience and isn’t looking get any. In fact, when pressed into the UDF service to fight on the front lines for the biggest invasion against enemy territory, Cruise runs away!  He’s not even on the battlefield, but in the UDF’s headquarters in London; and he’s running from all these military personnel as if he can actually make it all the way back to the States without getting caught!  This was one of my most memorable moments of this movie.

As you may have guessed, Cruise doesn’t get too far in his escape plans.  He is busted down to a private and sent to join a squad that will be dropped into the fight on the next day (the big invasion).  Cruise is a babe in a very nasty part of the woods, and within minutes of being dropped into the fray, he is killed.  But somehow he has attained the power to go back one day in time every time he gets killed, with a complete memory of what happened, allowing him to sidestep all the pitfalls that would kill him.

Blunt, finding out about Cruise’s power, enlists his help to try to turn the disastrous invasion into a successful one; but both find it is a very, very difficult thing to do.  Think of it as a video game that is so difficult, you can only advance a little at a time before being killed.  The part that you’ve played already is easy, but the rest of the game is unknown.

Unfortunately for Cruise, he will have to die many, many times if he wants to get it right.  But dying is painful, and he dies in many ways.  At first, Cruise’s deaths are usually funny; and the movie comes off mostly as comedic.  But as his deaths rack up, Cruise starts to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, or simply “shell shock” as it was called in the old days.  His multiple lives also has the benefit of making him a highly skilled warrior.  This is when the movie’s tone shifts to that of a serious, sci-fi story.  Movies that do these tone shifts usually come off as schizophrenic and uneven, but in this case, it works very well.

Pretty much all of the movie works very well.  I didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did, so I hope you give it a chance; and maybe you’ll like it also.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention my most memorable, movie moment of “Edge of Tomorrow.”  That would be the scene when Cruise sees Blunt for the first time.  She’s in a training room, calmly doing some Yoga pose that shows how fit she is.  Upset that Cruise has invaded her space, she stands up and gives him a threatening stare.  This…woman…is…absolutely…stunning.   Hmm…I guess Blunt is a big reason why I like this movie so much.

— M

When 2 giant creatures (called MUTO: Massive, Unidentified, Terrestrial Organism) lying dormant for years finally awaken to multiply and wreak some serious havoc on Earth, Godzilla emerges to fight his natural enemy and restore balance to the planet.

Sounds like a creature fest, right?  Not really.  “Godzilla” is kind of a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s Godzilla flicks, meaning the human element takes precedence over the monsters.  Don’t worry, there’s enough Godzilla and MUTOs to gawk over when you see these titans fight.

“Godzilla” stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a Navy officer who gets in the middle of the monster fight because he had to travel to Japan to deal with his father (played by Bryan Cranston) who is obsessed with the destruction of a nuclear reactor many years ago that killed his wife.  Cranston always believed that there were other forces at play, and the government was hiding what really happened, and he wants answers!

Well, Cranston gets his answers, and then some.   The reactor destruction was caused by a MUTO, creatures who feed on nuclear radiation, and emit powerful EMPs (electro-magnetic pulses) that destroy any electronic device that isn’t shielded from EMPs.   Bad news for the humans, as most of their heavy weapons use electronics, and the ones that don’t use electronics do little damage, if any, to the MUTOs.   Enter Godzilla, possibly the best ally the humans have; but the military sees Godzilla as a threat also, and plan to kill all three at once.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Godzilla” is the sequence when Johnson and his team do a HALO jump (High Altitude, Low Opening), above and into the middle of a fight between Godzilla and a MUTO.  The type of music used during this sequence made the jump horrifying and extremely intense.  This moment could have been a page out of Dante’s Inferno, or remnants of a fantastic nightmare.  It’s a great example of genius filmmaking.

The rest of the movie falls quite short of genius, but that’s okay, because “Godzilla” delivers on the entertainment level.  Yes, Maximus, I was entertained.

Oh, one last thing about some people complaining that there wasn’t enough Godzilla in “Godzilla.”  There is such a thing as overexposure.  Show the creature too much and the audience will lose its sense of shock, awe, and wonder.  Give them just enough, and leave them wanting more.

–M

 

Deep under the ice of Antarctica, an ancient pyramid is found.   Funded by the Weyland corporation (recognize that name, Alien fans?), a team of scientists, mercenaries, an expert ice climber, and Mr. Weyland himself trek to the newly found site.  Unfortunately for them, what they discovered is an active site that Predators (giant, alien hunters/warriors) use to prove their courage and combat skills against another extraterrestrial life form that we have seen many times in the “Alien” movies.

Sanaa Lathan plays the ice climber, and despite her warnings to the others to do as she says so they can maximize their odds of surviving this archaeological dig, some people just don’t listen.  The humans trigger switches that fully activate the pyramid, locking them in with three Predators and an Alien Queen that will lay eggs that will need human hosts to produce more Aliens.  It’s a big, s*#t sandwich and every human will have to take a large bite.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “AVP” is the shot of a magazine that shows the face of Mr. Weyland.  The face belongs to actor Lance Henriksen, who also plays the android, Bishop, in some of the “Alien” movies.  Weyland’s middle name happens to be Bishop.  It appears the android’s likeness was taken from the former head of the Weyland corporation.   That was a nice addition to the movie.

Another memorable moment of this movie is the scene when Lathan sees a female mercenary carrying a pistol.  Lathan tells the merc that she’s never seen a gun save anyone’s life on the ice.  The merc says it’s like a condom: better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.   Good one!

My most memorable, movie moment of “AVP” would be the flashback scene when three Predators are standing on top of the pyramid, and thousands of Aliens are rushing their way to the top, quickly overwhelming the Predators; but not before one of the Predators activates a tactical nuke-like weapon.  Fans of “Alien” movies will remember that the Alien creature has a knack for surviving even in the most extreme conditions, and can multiply like cockroaches.

Now, let’s talk about the shenanigans in this movie.  First, the amount of time that the Facehugger lays its eggs down the throats of humans and then dies and falls off is very, very quick.  Second, the amount of time it takes for the Chestburster to grow to an adult Alien is also shockingly short — I’m talking a few hours here.  It could be that this type of Alien adapted to a quicker turnaround; but I think it was just the writers and director saying, “Screw it, we need to get this moving fast, so speed things up, damn the logic!”

Another shenanigan is (SPOILER ALERT HERE) when the dead Predator is taken to the main ship by his comrades, and the other Predators don’t know that the dead one has been impregnated by a Facehugger.  This is pure b.s.  In every “Predator” movie, Predators are constantly scanning their environment and the bodies of creatures they encounter.  They use different wavelengths of light, including X-rays, to get as much information about everything they see.  But they don’t check their dead comrade for a possibility of being infected?  Get the hell out!  Lazy screenwriting: they wanted the shock/surprise/possible sequel, but didn’t do it in a way that made sense.

Well, despite the numerous, logical problems of this movie, it is still entertaining and worthy of your time.  Especially if you’re a fan of the “Predator” and “Alien” movies like I am.  “AVP” is far from being the best in the series, but it can hold its own.

— M

You may want to turn on your subtitles for this movie, because most of the actors have extremely thick accents.  From England comes “Attack The Block,” a hybrid sci-fi/comedy movie that has aliens attacking a poor neighborhood in London.  It all starts when an alien crashes into a car near a group of teenaged hoodlums (led by John Boyega) who are in the process of mugging a nurse who is on her way home (played by Jodie Whittaker).   Boyega investigates the damaged car, looking for something valuable to steal, and instead he gets attacked by the alien.  This doesn’t go too well with Boyega and his crew, so they decide to chase  the alien and make it sorry that it messed with the local toughs.   Having done battle with a tiny alien and coming out victorious, Boyega and his gang go home to the apartment complex where they all live in order to celebrate by getting high.  But their celebration is cut short when more aliens arrive, and the aliens — the size of small gorillas with glowing mouths and teeth — seem to be focusing their attacks on Boyega and his gang.

It was hard for me to root for the teenaged gang at first, because the first time they are shown is when they are wearing hoods/hats/handkerchiefs over their faces as they block the path of Whittaker so they can mug her.  It’s not a comedic scene at all; it was actually a bit terrifying.  I hated these kids, and I wanted them to get their low-life bodies crushed by a falling, giant anvil like in the cartoons.  Then I realized these are the main characters — the heroes, I guess — of the movie!  D’oh.  But halfway through the movie, when the street toughs and their muggee join forces to survive this alien attack, my anger eased up a bit and I found myself somewhat liking them and wanting them to live.  By the way, writing likeable characters is easy.  Writing unlikeable characters that forces the audience to eventually like them is very hard to do, and risky.  Risky because the audience could wind up hating them throughout the movie and emotionally distancing themselves from the movie, which leads to an unhappy movie experience, and bad reviews, and low profits for the movie.  So, I give a lot of props to the director/screenwriter for not taking the easy way out.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “Attack The Block” is the scene when Boyega is making a run for his apartment while the monsters are running after him, just a few feet away from taking big chunks out of his body.  The scene is in slow-motion, elongating the nightmarish scenario of a person running for all his worth in order to not suffer a painful death of being ripped apart by sharp teeth.

A comedic scene gets the award for being my most memorable, movie moment of “Attack The Block.”  And that would be the part when two little kids — wanna-be gangsters who call themselves Probs and Mayhem — are about to attack an alien so they can get street cred.  Mayhem keeps asking Probs questions about what would happen to them if they fail to kill the monster.  Probs finally shuts him up by saying something like, “Nobody is going to call you Mayhem if you keep acting like a pussy.”  Buwahahahahaha!

For those who think this is some laugh out loud, silly alien movie…it’s not.  It’s more serious than it is funny; and there are many parts of grisly violence when people are ripped to pieces by the aliens.  The screenwriter/director did a great job of blending the two genres, as well as keeping the tension high throughout the movie.   I was glad I took a chance on this indie flick, as it provided me with very good entertainment for 88 minutes; and it was free (thanks, Library!).

M

Combine “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” (1978 version) and “Shaun Of The Dead” and you get “The World’s End.”  Only the end product isn’t as good as any of the two first mentioned movies.  I’ll tell you why later.

“The World’s End” is about a 40-something-year-old loser (played by Simon Pegg) whose life is so crappy that all he has left is his goal to relive a night when he was much younger and cooler and he went bar hopping with 4 of his best friends.  The previous goal of the bar hopping: to visit 12 pubs and drink 1 pint per pub, all in one night, with the last pub named The World’s End.  That goal was never accomplished as the five dudes were too wasted.  But decades later, Pegg decides he wants another go at it; and suckers his 4 friends into joining him.  Unfortunately for all of them, the town that the 12 pubs are located in have been taken over by aliens who disguise themselves in human form.  And you either join or die.

Die is what I wanted Pegg to do, because his character is an incredible jackass.   Most people will either run away from him or beat him into a coma.  Bottom line, a hero who is not likeable makes the audience want to see him die instead of prevail against alien invaders.  Luckily we have Nick Frost, best friend of Pegg, who is funny and likeable and provides much of the heart of the movie.  As for the alien invasion storyline, it doesn’t kick in until about 30 minutes into the movie!  I was sitting in my car watching this and wondering if I made a mistake regarding what the movie was about.

“The World’s End” has many jokes all throughout the movie, but many of them misfire.  There are many impressive, fighting sequences that border on what you see in Hong Kong martial arts movies; and once the action starts, it hardly stops.  So, just like a train, it’s off to a slow start; but once it gets going, it really gets going.  Bonus points for the movie’s intense pacing during the 2nd and 3rd acts.

**Slight spoiler alert here**  My most memorable, movie moment of “The World’s End” is the scene when Pegg and his friends confront the leader of the alien invasion.  For those of you “Star Trek” fans (like me!), it’ll remind you of those many scenes when Captain Kirk or Captain Picard has to plea to a much more powerful being that humans deserve to live.  Only Pegg does it in a very crude, funny, and raucous way that finally had me cheering for him.

So, fans of “Shaun Of The Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” go and watch this movie.  It’s not great, but it’s good enough.

M

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In this third movie about the ultra bad-ass criminal, Riddick (played by Vin Diesel), we find Diesel marooned on a harsh planet after an assassination attempt on his life by the soldiers whom he commanded in the previous movie.  We are shown a flashback of Diesel being a ruler of a planet, and getting soft and losing his edge as a result.   And now he’s alone, wounded and hunted by beasts from the air, ground, and water.  So, he decides to go back to basics by being naked and shiny and walking up a tall rock.  Huh?  What?  Hey, you tell me.

Fast forward some time later, and Diesel is back to being his ultra bad-ass self again, only he’s managed to raise and befriend a dog-like creature.  Huh?  What?  You thought he was a loner, too?  No attachments, no sentiments?  Well, you see, Diesel needed to experiment with building up a tolerance to the poison of a fierce creature, so he decided to use a baby doggie creature.  The doggie lived, and before you know it, the doggie is now full grown and friends with Diesel.  And let’s not forget that in the first movie, “Pitch Black,” it is shown that Diesel does believe in friendship, is a man of his word, and gives as good as he gets.   So when you look at it that way, the doggie part of this story is easy to believe.

All is not well with this crappy planet Diesel is on, because the rains are coming, and with all that water comes the fierce creatures that live in the ground, waiting to come out when the rainy season comes.   Diesel decides to activate a distress beacon, which scans his face; and soon, 2 sets of mercenaries on 2 ships descend on the planet to retrieve Diesel, dead or alive.   Of course, this is what Diesel wants.  He needs a ship to get off the planet before the underground creatures come out by the thousands.  Getting the mercenaries to give him a ship isn’t so easy, though.

Fans of “Pitch Black” and “The Chronicles of Riddick” will not be disappointed by “Riddick.”   This movie moves fast, has plenty of action and gore, lots of monsters, and…funny moments.   Yep, “Riddick” has many moments that will have you smiling or laughing.   But don’t worry, the jokes are appropriate to this type of movie.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Riddick” is the scene when Katee Sackhoff is taking a shower, and we are shown the side of her left breast.   In case you didn’t know, Sackhoff played a memorable character called Starbuck in the television series, “Battlestar Galactica,”  and many of us male, sci-fi fans adore her.

Ah, I can see the male, sci-fi geeks putting that Sackhoff nude scene in a constant loop on their BD players.  Hmmm…I can also see some male, sci-fi geeks putting that shiny, naked Diesel on top of a rock scene on a constant loop on their BD players.

M

J.J. Abrams is on a roll with his second “Star Trek” movie being as good as his first.  “Into Darkness” has Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock) Karl Urban (Bones), Simon Pegg (Scotty) and the whole crew of the USS Enterprise going up against the genetically engineered, physically and intellectually superior Khan, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.   That’s right, Abrams has tackled and rebooted the story of Khan’s uprising, and he does it very well.

Cumberbatch (I hope this actor’s parents invested in martial arts classes for him, because that name invites all sorts of ass kickings in school) masterminded an explosion  in a Federation building, and an assassination attempt on many of the high ranking members of Starfleet, making him #1 on the Federation’s most wanted list.   Sent to kill him is Pine and his Enterprise crew.  You heard that correctly.  Pine is ordered to find and kill Cumberbatch.  There’s lots of cloak and dagger stuff going on here…who is really the bad guy, who is telling the truth — and how much of it — and hidden agendas and goals.  There are many surprises here that will please and shock many of us “Star Trek” fans.

One such surprise is one of my memorable, movie moments of “…Into Darkness.”  That is the scene when Urban is genetically modifying a Tribble, which explains why Tribbles multiply like rabbits, or cockroaches, or your most hated ethnic group.

Another memorable, movie moment of this title is what happens to the Pike character.   I won’t go into details, but it was a shocker for me, as it completely goes against the timeline of the “Star Trek” stories that come after the Abrams movies.  But I recall in the first Abrams “Star Trek” movie (I could be wrong, because I’ve only seen that movie once, years ago) that the events of that first movie had altered the future of the characters.  So we better be prepared for other changes in the movies that are to follow.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Star Trek: Into Darkness” is the scene when Pine is explaining to Quinto why Pine violated the Prime Directive in order to save Quinto’s life.  It is something Pine had been trying to tell Quinto throughout the movie, but he is always interrupted; and Quinto always looks confused as to why Pine did what he did.  But in this scene, Quinto finally gets it, and tells Pine “because I am your friend.”  This exchange between the two is made more powerful because of the dire situation one of them is in.

Friendship.  The adventures we have with our friends, the good times and the bad, the sacrifices we make and are willing to make for the ones we care about.  This is what brought us to all the “Star Trek” movies and shows, and keeps us coming back for more.  And I will be back for another Abrams “Star Trek” movie should he make another, because Abrams gets it.

M

“Predators” is, as far as memory serves me, the only movie I’ve seen that has a trailer that flat out lies to the audience!  It lies like a politician!  It lies like a CEO of a corporation!  It lies like a car salesman!  It lies like your teenaged kid!  What does the trailer lie about?  Well, have a seat and I’ll tell you — unless you have hemorrhoids, in which case you can remain standing.  Near the end of the trailer, there is a shot of Adrien Brody being “lased” by 15 Predator, laser targeting beams.  Which means 15 Predators in the movie, right?  Wrong.  In the movie, there is only one laser beam aimed at Brody.   One.  What a huge rip-off!  Like opening a huge bag of potato chips and only finding 3 ounces of chips inside.

So how many Predators are in “Predators?”  Four.   “Hey, that’s not bad,” you say.  “Oh, yes it is,” I reply.  I was promised 15 and given 4.  Ladies, if a man tells you he has 10 inches and he really has 5, you’d be upset!  Men, if a woman looks like a DD bra size, and it turns out to be mostly padding, you’d be upset!  Uh…never mind that last part…men are just happy to have sex; but you get the point!

Anyway…”Predators” takes place on a planet that Predators use as a game preserve.  Predators kidnap creatures from different planets (including people from Earth) and parachute them into their hunting ground for future fun and games.  Among the current batch of Earthlings is Adrien Brody, a mercenary.  Making up the rest of the batch is a Mexican, drug cartel member; a serial killer; a hit squad member from Sierra Leone; a Yakuza member; a Russian, Special Ops soldier; a female sniper played by Alice Braga; and white dude that seems out of place played by Topher Grace.

Here’s another thing that irks me about “Predators.”  The human prey know that they’ve been chosen to be hunted because of their viciousness and/or fighting abilities.  They’re all killers.   But Topher Grace’s background isn’t mentioned, or even hinted at, in the first 90% of the movie.  Why aren’t the other humans curious as to who he is and why he’s there with all these soldiers/mercenaries/killers?  Grace is the weakest of the humans; and he’s a bit of a goofball.  Why would the Predators want to hunt him?  Why aren’t the other humans looking at him the way  Klansmen would look at a black man who decided to join in the cross burning?  This is a big, logical flaw.

Another reason not to like “Predators” is the annoying, fake, tough guy voice that Brody uses.   It’s really bad, and distracting.   Every time he talks it takes me out of the movie.

Overall, “Predators” isn’t a bad movie.  Then again, a multi-million dollar, Hollywood movie loaded with talented actors is a failure if all the praise it can garner is that it isn’t a bad movie.

“Predators” gave me two memorable, movie moments.  Coming in at second place is the scene when one of the humans, played by Walton Goggins, is telling Grace that if he makes it out of the planet alive, he’s going to do massive amounts of coke, and will rape many bitches.  No matter what time of the day it is, it’ll be time to rape a bitch.  Wow.  I wonder if he’s related to the NYPD “Cannibal Cop?”

At the top of the memorable, movie moments of “Predators” is the scene when Goggins — yes, him again — becomes very aware that a threat is coming toward him and his group, and that he’s only armed with a knife, while everyone else (except for Grace) is carrying serious hardware.  Goggins starts whining like a little kid about someone giving him a spare gun because all he has is a tiny knife, but his pleas fall on deaf ears.  Oh, what a creepy, funny character.  Like a gym teacher.

Speaking of gym teachers, I have a story to tell you.  Back in elementary school, one of the regular teachers — some douche whose name I forgot —  was in charge of the gym.   So one day, he told all the students to go around him (to his left) and do a lap around the gym.  For some reason, I go around him to his right.  When my lap was done, he pulls me aside and tells me to do another lap because I didn’t follow instructions.  WTF!  Not being a troublemaker, I did as I was told, but man, I was pissed.  And as you can tell, I’m still pissed off!  I mean, can you believe that s@#t?  You’re going to make a kid suffer for some trivial thing because why?  Your wife was banging a younger guy with washboard abs?  You mother-f%&*er.  Well, I’d like to go back in time — but the way I am now (ripped and strong and fast from 28 years of working out) — and give Mr. Douche a fast knee into his soft, Pillsbury Doughboy stomach and watch him drop to his knees like a $5 whore.

I believe in forgiveness.  Only after make you suffer.

M

Very loosely based on the Battleship board/electronic games, “Battleship” surprisingly gives an entertaining and suspenseful story of U.S. Naval forces and a few civilians fighting an alien invasion.  The movie stars Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, and Liam Neeson; and is directed by Peter Berg.   There’s nothing deep or complex about “Battleship.”  It is your standard, action/adventure/sci-fi flick that has big, loud, action sequences, a few dramatic moments, and many b.s. parts.   “Battleship” is nowhere near as engaging as a Michael Bay movie — no, I’m not being sarcastic here, as I like Michael Bay movies — but it’s good enough.

The movie opens with silly humans sending an electronic hello to a planet that is believed to hold life, perhaps intelligent life.   Oh, there’s life all right; and the aliens are about as vicious and warlike as we are.  So, the aliens decide to send 5 ships to scout out the planet that gave them an invite; but one of the alien spacecraft hits an Earth satellite and crashes. It turns out the crashed spaceship was the communications ship.  Huh?  The aliens weren’t intelligent enough to avoid a satellite?  And they didn’t have some kind of force field to protect their ships?  They used a super duper force field when they landed; but they didn’t have it for their precious ships?  B.s.

Kitsch starts off as a loser living with his brother, Skarsgard, who an officer in the Navy.  Kitsch is intelligent but has no ambitions and no self control.  He’s a stoner dude.  Skarsgard forces him to join the Navy.  Fast forward a few years later and Kitsch is a Lieutenant in the U.S.N.  But he’s still reckless and has no self control.   How the hell did he become an officer?  B.s.

When the U.S.N. ships that are trapped within the alien force field first come into contact with the alien ships, instead of sending low-level grunts to investigate, they pull a “Star Trek” and send higher ranking soldiers who should be manning other posts to do the dirty work.  B.s.  Yeah, I know, they want to give Kitsch and Rihanna more face time — still, b.s.

So you’d think all these b.s. moments (there are more than what I wrote about) would ruin the movie?  Nope.   There are plenty of good moments that salvage “Battleship” and turn it into a good flick, relative to the movies in its class.   Case in point: the sequence when Kitsch maneuvers his Destroyer so that he takes advantage of the sun at his back in order to blind the oncoming alien attack ship.  It echoes those brilliant moves Capt. Kirk makes to turn a losing situation into a victorious one.  It’s also my most memorable, movie moment.

First runner up regarding the memorable movie moment of “Battleship” is the sequence when Kitsch and his crew are using buoys in order to “see” where the alien ships are.  Using an electronic grid in the weapons control room, they fire missiles toward where they think the alien ships will go next.  Some missiles miss, some hit.   Yup, similar to the board/electronic game!

A question to the eggheads out there who just can’t wait to make first contact with intelligent, extra-terrestrial life: do you go walking up to strangers and start conversations and invite them to come to your home?  No?  Why not?  Is it because those strangers could be looney tunes and they could chop your ass off to put in the freezer for a midnight snack?  Uh-huh.  But you’re okay with contacting alien life and inviting them here.  Aliens could be bigger whackos than us humans.  Put that in your pocket protector.

M

Ever heard of the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?”  Well, don’t judge a movie by its title.   I thought this movie was part comedy due to the title, and I was wrong.  Yes, there are some funny moments here and there, but overall this is a serious, Western/Sci-Fi movie.  The opening scene sets the tone for this movie, where several men are quickly killed in a brutal fashion.  That pretty much ruined my notion that I was watching a Western/Sci-Fi/Comedy.

“Cowboys & Aliens” is about an alien race that comes to the western part of the U.S. back in the 1800s to seek that which they deem to be rare and valuable.  The humans get in their way and so they are killed or kidnapped for experimentation.  Cowboys, being rough and tumble and not taking crap from anyone, decide to look for where the aliens are holed up and lynch every single one of them.  There’s a problem with that idea though.  The aliens are much more advanced technologically and physically.

The movie stars Daniel Craig, and we first see him waking up with a nasty wound to his side and wearing a gaudy looking bracelet on his left wrist that even Liberace wouldn’t wear.  Is he human?  Is he an alien?  Is he a Western fruit cake?  Even Craig doesn’t know, as he has amnesia.  We find out later that the Chandler Bing, Liberace House of Crap bracelet is actually an alien weapon that he got by accident.   How Craig got the weapon is one of the stupid things in this movie.  Basically an alien takes off his bracelet weapon and places it next to the wrist of Craig, his prisoner.  Why?  You tell me, dude.

How can an alien race so advanced as to build spaceships do something so retarded as leave their weapon next to the hands of their prisoners?  It makes no sense right?  But then again having advanced technology doesn’t always come with common sense.  We humans have built spaceships.  And we do the most stupid things like: believe what our politicians promise us; readily give up our freedoms that millions have fought and suffered for just to feel a little more safe; ingest things that we know will give us cancer; buy more than what we need and so we end up in debt for the rest of our lives; spend so much of our free time watching tv shows that keep us distracted from the real news that is happening all around us, etc., etc.

So, Craig teams up with Harrison Ford (who plays a mean, old fart who always looks like he’s trying to pass hard stool) and other cowboys and one cowgirl and a bunch of Chiricahua Apaches to rescue the people who have been kidnapped, get payback, and keep the aliens from invading the rest of the U.S.  There are a lot of action, a body count of maybe 3 dozen and  vicious and gory kills.  This movie is not for the rugrats.

My most memorable, movie moment is the scene where — spoiler alert here — one of the main characters comes back to life.  It turns out this person is not human, but part of an alien race that has been invaded and almost wiped out by the aliens invading Earth.

I like this movie.  Not enough to buy it, but enough to watch it one or two more times.   It’s not “Unforgiven” nor is it “Alien,” but it is good entertainment.

M

Here’s another review of a movie starring my favorite, wise-ass comic book character (not to be confused with my favorite comic book character) wearing my favorite 2 colors.   Director Sam Raimi gives us the darkest of his Spider-Man trilogy in “Spider-Man 3.”  We get 3 villains: Sandman, the new Goblin, and Venom!  “Wow” you say?  “Eh,” I say.   Superhero movies that put too many new villains in a movie tend to suffer from lack of character development of those characters and/or lack of focus.  This is partly true of “Spider-Man 3.”

The Sandman was given enough backstory so that we feel some sympathy for him: he wants to make money to give his sick daughter the proper medical care.  The new, Green Goblin has been slowly introduced to us in “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2,” so that character is already fully developed by part 3.  No problem there.  Venom, on the other hand, takes full form in the last third of the movie, and it felt rushed to me.  And let’s not forget the new, black, Spidey costume that Venom came from.   There is too much going on here for one movie.

The black costume by itself could be the storyline for one movie.  For those who aren’t familiar with Spider-Man comics, Spidey and a bunch of superheroes left Earth to fight bad guys; and Spidey came upon this black costume and decided to take it back to Earth and use it.  Well, the new costume turned out to be an alien creature that formed a symbiotic relationship with Spidey, and at some point Spidey ditched the alien.  The alien got angry and joined with a jerk named Eddie Brock, turning Brock into Venom: basically a large, evil version of Spider-Man.   Sounds like a big story for a movie, right?  It is.  Maybe for 2 movies.   But to have all this mashed into one movie along with the Sandman and the new Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy and who really killed Uncle Ben and problems with Mary Jane…it’s like trying to take in as much of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan in 2 hours.   The rush doesn’t do the art justice.

So is it a bad movie?  Oh, no.  This is a good movie.  I give it a 7.5 out of 10, with 10 being the best.   But it could have been much better had it not had too many stories going on.  So what was going on?  Well, let me tell you about it by giving you some of my memorable, movie moments of “Spider-Man 3.”

Numero uno: when Spidey kisses Gwen Stacy while he’s upside down hanging by his web.  Yup, that same kiss he gave to M.J. in “Spider-Man.”  Their special kiss.  Their first kiss.   And he did that knowing M.J. was in the audience watching.  This is a prime example of what women talk about when they say men are clueless.  I know deep down, Parker is still feeling like a geek and he has little experience with women, but damn, dude!   He should’ve know better.  This leads to a big fight and break-up of Spidey and M.J.  I remember taking a special woman to the same restaurant many times.  A restaurant that we both found during one of our days together.  It felt weird taking another woman there, even though the first woman gave me her blessing to take others there after our romantic relationship was over.  After all, that was “our place.”  But at least I waited until it was over, and I got the go-ahead from the first woman, and we both had an understanding that we could take others there.   Not Spidey!  He just gave away that special kiss to another while he was still with M.J.  And, oh, he paid for that lack of insight.

For the second memorable, movie moment, I give you the sequence where the new, Green Goblin chases and tries to kill Spider-Man for the first time, early in the movie.  It’s memorable for how badly it was done.  It reminded me of those “Back To The Future” movies where McFly is being chased by big, bully Biff.   The tone of the sequence was wrong.  It came off as comedy/action instead of being serious and suspenseful.

The third memorable, movie moment is the sequence dealing with Peter Parker’s new, cocky attitude thanks to stress and the effects of the alien costume that he wears under his street clothes.  With cheesy, 1970s style disco/porn music playing in the background, Parker struts the streets of Manhattan like John Travolta (“Oh, my god, Spider-man — where?”) in “Saturday Night Fever.”  Snapping his fingers to music only he can hear, Parker disco points, thrusts his pelvis, and smiles at all the ladies, creeping them out.  It’s funny and a bit scary, like preachers who wear fancy suits and wear too much cologne, sweat too much, and always ends sentences with “hah!”

My most memorable, movie moment takes place near the end of the movie.  Even though this movie is old, I will be careful of my words so I don’t spoil it for people who haven’t watched this movie.  It deals with forgiveness, which I think is the spine, or theme, of “Spider-Man 3.”  Most of the main characters come to an understanding of what they’ve done, and why; and we get the feeling that from here on, they will try to be better people with whatever time they have left in this world.

That’s what I try to do every day.  I don’t always succeed, but I do make the effort.

M

“Super 8” is about 2 children who have lost their mothers and are now dealing with emotionally absent fathers.   They take part in an independent, short movie with their friends; and during a night of filming (filming in the true sense of the word, as they are using Super 8mm film), they witness the crash of a U.S. Air Force train that unleashes some kind of creature.

Director J.J. Abrams, whose previous projects includes “Lost” and “Cloverfield,” is in familiar territory here.  “Super 8” is a blend of sci-fi/action/suspense/drama, with the focus on the characters and their relationships with each other.  Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney play the 2 children mentioned above.  Their performances are top-notch, especially Fanning’s.  I hope to see these two in more movies that showcase their talents instead of following the footsteps of so many child actors winding up in rehab, coked out of their minds and broke as hell.

Watching the young’uns make their movie in “Super 8″was a treat for me.   Using friends as the actors and crew, people doing multiple jobs, making use of whatever was at hand to make the movie, all the setbacks…it took me back to when I was in my 20s and 30s making indie, guerrilla flicks.  Fun and stressful times; and there were moments when I wanted to punch the eyeballs out of some of the actors.   Those were experiences I’ll never forget.

Abrams started out making short movies when he was a kid.  And from that humble beginning, he has created — among many things — this movie about loss, forgiveness, reconnection and love.  For those looking for a straight up, creature feature, this isn’t for you. This movie reminds me of “E.T.”  Only instead of eating Reese’s Pieces, he wound up in a locker of an NFL player and ate bottles of Human Growth Hormone and steroids.

“Super 8” does have a big B.S. moment, unfortunately.  Okay, the USAF train was derailed due to a scientist driving his pickup truck on the rails going toward the train.   Train and pickup collide in a spectacularly loud fashion, complete with explosions.  And the scientist…is still in his truck…in one piece…and alive.   Abrams, dude, what the hell!  Now, I know why Abrams let the scientist live: so that he can give the kids who were making their movie nearby information as to what was happening, and therefore let the audience know what’s going on.  So you think the scientist dude would die after that, right?  No!  He lives!  What the hell!  If you crashed your pickup head on against a speeding train, CSI would be picking up your testicles in the next town!

Anyway.  One memorable, movie moment deals with a deputy who wants to know answers from the commanding officer of the Air Force guys who are all over his small town.   Deputy Dumbass shows his cards and says he has info on what is happening, and he’s willing to talk to Washington about the situation.  Air Force dude says he’ll tell Deputy Dumbass what he wants to know, but only at a place he designates.  Okaaay.  Sounds fishy, right?  Not to Deputy Dumbass, because in the second scene, Deputy Dumbass goes to the designated place and he is quickly surrounded by Air Force guys pointing their M-16 rifles at him.  I’d like to say Deputy Dumbass was given an anal probe and dissected to see why he is so stupid, but I can’t because nothing of the sort happened.

My most memorable, movie moment takes place during the end credits.  No, no, I’m not being a smartass here!   Remember when I said a bunch of kids were making a short, Super 8mm movie in this movie?  Well, their entire work is shown during the first half of the end credits.  Oh, that really took me back a few decades!  I was diggin’ it, man!  The joys of creating a movie.  Creating art.

M

Two scientists create a creature based on the DNA of various animals, and interesting and horrifying things happen.   “Splice” was trashed by critics and the movie going public; and I was hesitant to give almost 2 hours of my life to watching this movie, but since it was available for free from the library, I figured I’d give it a chance.   I’m glad I did, because it was worth my time.

Dren is the name of the creature that is concocted by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, “The Pianist” and the “Dawn of the Dead” chick.   Dren starts off looking like a big maggot sack, then she quickly grows into a mini Kangaroo/rat thing as a “child”; then as a “teenager” she’s a woman from the neck to the waist, a Kangaroo from the waist down, with a head that looks like an alien with Down’s Syndrome.  Gorgeous, huh?   Adrien Brody’s character thinks so, because he bangs her.

Oh, did I mention that Brody and Polley raised Dren in secret, feeding her, teaching her, dressing her, keeping her safe from their bosses who may abuse her?  In a sense, Brody is Dren’s father.  So when Brody has sex with his experiment, the incest-like nature of the act adds to the queasiness in one’s stomach.   During sex, Dren is in so much ecstasy that wings spontaneously sprout from her arms and back.  Brody sees this.  Does he stop?  Does he say, “enough, this is too weird?”  Nope, he just goes with the flow.

Now, I understand people are into weird sex acts.  Or what is considered weird by the majority.   The craziest thing I’ve done “behind closed doors” was to hogtie a woman.   It didn’t last too long as it was uncomfortable for her, so I untied her and we did other things.  And I don’t think that’s too weird at all.  Keep in mind my partner was 100% woman, not some crazy experiment that looks like Corky from “Life Goes On.”  Anyway, the Brody/Dren sex scene is the most memorable moment of “Splice.”

Oh!   Oh!   Polley walks in on Brody (they’re a couple, by the way) and Dren during their intimate moment!   Brody chasing after a disgusted Polley as he fumbles to keep his pants on had me laughing to no end.  Seriously, if your significant other caught you banging an animal, there’s not much you can say to salvage the relationship.

A close runner up for the most memorable “Splice” moment is the part when Dren spontaneously turns into a male, and rapes Polley’s character, who is like Dren’s mother.  She screams, “What do you want!”  Dren growls, “Inside…you!”  Where’s my Pepto Bismol?

Violence, playing god, rape, incest, murder.   This story could be in the Bible.

M

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve watched “Prometheus,” and while it’s still fresh in my mind I will write about it.

I’m a huge fan of the Alien movies.  I even bought and read the comic books made from them way back when I was younger.   So, of course, I’m partial to liking “Prometheus.”  But I think I’d still like this movie if I had never watched any of the Alien movies.  “Prometheus” is simply a good, sci-fi flick.

So…the most memorable moments in this movie.   Top honors would go to the opening sequence where a human or humanoid (his head looks like an Easter Island statue, and his skin color was gray, I think) stands near the edge of a waterfall.   He disrobes, and he is freakishly built.  If Arnold Schwarzenegger had sex with a mountain gorilla instead of his maid, this humanoid creature would be the result.  Anyway, Easter Island dude pops something into his mouth, and his body starts to disintegrate.  And it looks very painful.  He falls into the waters below, and we see his DNA spread out into the waters.   Although it’s not explicitly stated, we are to assume that we Earthlings are the product of this idiot’s sacrifice.   I’m sorry, but there’s no way in hell I would give up my life — and in a painful way at that — to bring forth life into a planet.   I’ll toss in some cut fingernails, maybe spit in the water.   If that doesn’t bring about life in a few million years, oh, well, I tried.

On we go to another memorable moment in “Prometheus.”  The semi-suicide of one of the crew, who becomes infected with Alien crap.  He knows he’s screwed, and his body is morphing into something that doesn’t make him happy, and he’s in a lot of pain (similar to the ones we feel when we see the final cost of filling up our gas tanks).   So at the entrance to the ship, he’s told to stay back because of his infection.   Charlize Theron warns him with a flamethrower.   Infected guy moves forward, since he no longer wants to live with his affliction; and he’s quickly turned into a fiery marshmallow.   Being burned to death sounds painful to me.  When I was very young, I was stupid enough to put my finger in a car cigarette lighter after it was pushed in and came out.  It was…extremely painful.  I also would like to add that…it was extremely painful.  And that was just the very tip of one finger.  Anyway, why didn’t infected guy ask for some drugs to make him super happy, then sleepy; and tell his crewmates to kill him after he’s passed out?  Yes, I know the burning is much more dramatic.  But when you know virtually no one would take that option of being burned alive while conscious, you can’t help but cry “b.s.” either out loud or in your mind.  Either way, it deducts points from the movie.   Only movies that are super cool and awesome can have b.s. moments which doesn’t really hurt the movie.  This movie isn’t one of those super cool and awesome ones.

Before I write about my final memorable moment, I have to warn you about a spoiler here, as I’ll be talking about the ending of the movie.   For those fans of “Alien” and “Aliens,” there is the mystery of the derelict ship and the fossilized body of the lone pilot whose chest has burst from the inside.  This pilot has been nicknamed “The Space Jockey.”  Well, “Prometheus” answers those mysteries.  Kind of.  You see, “Prometheus” shows us how the ship came to its final resting place; and we see the last surviving “Space Jockey” manning his ship during takeoff.  But…after it crashed, the pilot gets out of the ship and chases our heroine.  The “Space Jockey” is grabbed by an octopus-like alien, and has something forced down his throat.   The “Space Jockey” wakes up — still far from his spaceship — and an alien bursts out of his chest, killing the Jockey.  Therefore…how do we still have the body of the “Space Jockey” in the pilot seat in the spaceship in the movies “Alien” and “Aliens?”  Maybe I missed some piece of information, maybe there were two surviving “Space Jockeys”…I do remember watching this movie intently, paying attention to every detail.  And as far as I can remember, there was only one living “Space Jockey.”  So if I’m right, what hell, Ridley!

Hmmmm…between this paragraph and the previous one, a few hours have passed; and after doing a bit of research, it turns out the planet that the majority of “Prometheus” takes place on may be different from the planet involved in “Alien” and “Aliens.”  But if you’ve seen the first 2 Alien movies and then watch “Prometheus,” you’ll understand my confusion.  And confusion seems to be what Ridley Scott is creating.  No this isn’t a direct prequel to “Alien,” yes this has some DNA involved with “Alien,” no this has nothing to do with “Alien,” yes this has somethings familiar with “Alien.”  What the hell, Ridley!  I’ve seen “Alien,” “Aliens,” “Alien 3,” “Alien Resurrection,” “Alien vs Predator” and “Aliens vs Predators: Requiem” a combined 50 times, rough guess.  “Prometheus” is definitely a prequel to the Alien saga.  Why the director is acting coy like a 13 year old schoolgirl about to get felt up for the first time, I have no idea.

If it walks like an Alien, hisses like an Alien, and kills like an Alien, it probably is an Alien.

M

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