Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Sunshine (2007)

Rating: ★★★★☆

The plot: The sun is dying and about ready to go out. No supernova or anything like that, just ‘poof’ and the lights go out. The people of earth get together and decide to send a spaceship to the sun and ‘restart’ it by exploding a nuclear bomb in the sun’s core.

I will not get into the absurdity of the plot. Suffice to say you have to suspend your belief in over 1000 years of science to even have a chance of liking this movie.

I expected this to be a low budget (unintentional) laugh-fest, this was reinforced by the cheesy title screen on the DVD. I have to say though, this movie wasn’t half-bad. From the special effects there was obviously some sort of budget behind this movie. As I said, if you suspend your beliefs in physics, this is actually a decent film.

The entire film takes place in space aboard Icarus II, save a few minutes at the end. I would have liked to see the effects of the ‘solar winter’ on earth in the beginning of the movie, just to give a visual representation of the desperation that drove mankind into taking action.

We find out that Icarus I was launched seven years prior but failed to complete its mission for some unknown reason. At some point between the ‘dead zone’, a point in space too close to the sun for radio communication, and the surface of the sun itself, Icarus I failed in its mission so Icarus II was sent.

As the crew of Icarus II approach Mercury they pick up the distress beacon of Icarus I, apparently Mercury’s iron composition acts like an antenna. The crew has a choice, continue on its mission which will take them within 15,000 miles of Icarus I -or- adjust their course slightly to make an approach much closer to Icarus I, and possibly learning the cause of the failure.

The crew is split on this decision. On one hand, the future of mankind depends on them completing their mission. On the other hand, they only have one bomb and the success rate (explained in the movie) is only 40%. If they are able get to Icarus I they have two bombs to try. As stated in the movie “two last hopes are better than one.”

I’ll stop there so I don’t give too much away. If you are intrigued, go rent the movie.

On a side note… The dude from 28 Days Later is the physicist in this movie. I half-expected the reason of Icarus I to be zombies… He is officially typecast in my mind.

Also, how cool would it have been if they used “Don’t let the sun go down on me” for the opening credits song? Am I the only one that thinks of this shit?

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Avalon (2001)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Avalon is a Japanese film with Polish dialogue. Seriously.

The movie takes place in the not-so-distant future where people are becoming increasingly addicted to an illegal underground computer game called World of Warcraft Avalon. Players put on this headset and complete missions in this virtual world on teams or solo. The best players, such as our main character Ash, can make a lot of money playing the game (though I’m not sure how).

Ash used to be on team but some stuff went wrong which I can’t explain without spoilers so I’ll pretend it didn’t happen and skip it here in my review.

Ash discovers there is an advanced level hidden in the game that once a player enters they cannot exit until they win. This ‘level’ is full of color, life, and music. Compared to the drab, dirty, and decayed ‘reality’ of the not-so-distant future, this level is like utopia.

We then run into questions about what is reality and what would you do if you could choose which reality you wanted to live in. Actually, there is some pretty good stuff in this part of the movie. It’s a little to artsy for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I like artsy, but I thought this was a sci-fi movie.

If you’re into MMORPGs or artsy sci-fi stuff you will probably like this movie. Personally, it was just ok.

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20 Years After (2008)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Okay, I’m a sucker for the post-apocalyptic movie genre. I’m not sure why though I’m sure a good psychiatrist could figure it out; probably some deep-rooted hatred of society… or President Obama. Yeah, I’ll blame it on Obama.

Anyway, this movie was just a notch above horrible. The acting was barely passable, save a few moments here and there. The soundtrack was distracting. Is this a movie or a daytime soap? Seriously, the ‘mood’ music sounds like it came straight from a made for TV Lifetime movie, but not as good.

As for the story… Um, well. I’m guessing there was a story in there at some point. Basically, 20 years after an unexplained nuclear war and an unexplained plague there is a woman, Sara, who is pregnant with the first baby born in fifteen years (Children of Men, anyone?). I think this point is important though the movie doesn’t explain why.

Then there is a DJ  named ‘Micheal on the Radio’ broadcasting from an underground station, a ‘doctor’ named Samuel who is also a ventriloquist, Sarah’s mom, and some other people who all end up together in a cave because there is water there. Stuff happens, one of them gets an old F150 to run on moonshine, more stuff happens, Samuel turns out to be some sort of mystic (possibly an allegory for hope?). Some bad people try to get the baby, some people die, a small twist not worth mentioning is revealed, blah blah blah.

Sarah (still pregnant), her mom and Micheal-on-the-Radio decide to leave in the truck and head to the city to find another DJ. More stuff happens, we meet the other DJ, who is also a ventriloquist, more bad people, the baby is born, more mystical stuff (this time the ventriloquist’s dummy), the end.

What I learned… The only people who will survive a nuclear war are hippies and ventriloquists so if I become a hippie ventriloquist I may possibly end up the ruler of the world. I also learned how to spell ventriloquist.

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[REC] 2007

Rating: ★★★★☆

I think I’ve seen this film before… Oh yeah, it was called Quarantine! This Spanish film actually came out first and Quarantine was nothing but a shot-for-shot remake of  it. Here’s a little timeline for you…

[REC] – Released in Spain (2007)

Quarantine – Released in US (2008)

[REC] – Released in US (2009)

On a side note, both of these films have a scheduled sequel. I wonder if one will be another shot-for-shot remake of the other…

Back to the movie. A reporter and a cameraman are filming the nightly routines of some local firefighters. A call comes into the station about an elderly woman trapped in her apartment. When the firefighters and the film crew arrive at the apartment an all out zombiefest ensues leaving the firefighters, film crew, and residents trapped in the apartment building.

When this movie started I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through. While I’m a fan of the ‘found film’ genre, I already sat through the ‘average-at-best’ Quarantine – and this version (though the original) isn’t even in English! In the end I was suprised at how much better [REC] is than its shot-for-shot English translated brother, Quarantine. If you’ve already seen Quarantine, and if you did not HATE it, I recommend watching [REC] and comparing the two.

Oh, one last thought. I’m not sure of the ‘technical’ definition of shot-for-shot remake but there are definitely some differences between the two films. They are not 100% identical…

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Primer (2004)

Rating: ★★★★☆???

Let me start by saying WTF?!? WTF wtf w.t.f. W.T.F. WWTTFF. Seriously, WTF!

Okay, now that that’s out of my syst… WTF!

I consider myself somewhat intelligent. I know a little about a lot of things. Ask anyone who has played Jeopardy with me.

But this film nugget, well… it has me stumped. I’m still not sure what it’s about.
Filmed on a very small budget, something like $7,000 (I’m too lazy to verify the exact figure), this film follows four techie guys as they invent stuff in a garage in hopes to create and patent the ‘next big thing in electronics’ (I think). Two of them go off on their own project, something about making things lighter (I think). What they actually create, by accident (I think), is a time machine.

(Note: I probably mention something about ’spoilers’ right about now but honestly, I don’t think it matters.)

Their time machine creates a loop in time (I think) where an object can leave the box before it is actually placed in the box. The figure out that it’s a time machine when they put a watch in it and some weird stuff happens, though I’m still not sure WHAT actually happens.

Next one of the guys creates two human sized time machines at a storage locker so they can begin some time travel experiments. Basically, they turn the machine on in the morning and in the afternoon they get in it. They are then able to ride the time loop (I think) to the point at which the machine was turned on thus exiting it in the morning and living the day over again (I think).

Their experiments start out by cashing in on the stock market each day. They enter after the market closes and exit when the market opens. Eventually they start more detailed experiments that alter the space time continuum (I think). Something about a guy with a shotgun, I don’t know, I couldn’t follow that part of the story. This is also the part where they start fighting and not trusting one another. There is also something to do with an mp3 player…

Eventually we find out the one dude built a ‘fail-safe’ time machine. One that he turned on before their experiments so if something goes wrong he can go back to the beginning and disable the other machines (I think). Then there is more fighting and an airplane. Then some foreigners and the movie ends (I think).

I like that the movie isn’t dumbed down for mass appeal. I also like the low budget ‘reality-filming’ feel of the movie, think ‘Pi’ but in color and not so grainy. I don’t like how the movie left me cursing uncontrollably as my confusion (and headache) set in.

Please someone watch this movie and tell me what it is about. Please?!?

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