Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fury, movie review

I’ve seen plenty of war movies. And most are very emotional. I expected the same from this one. But strangely… I felt distanced from the characters the entire time. And I usually tear up at almost every movie I see.

I was thrilled to see Shia Lebeouf in a movie again–I have loved him since his Disney Channel days. But he wasn’t given much of an opportunity to shine in his role. Really, all of the actors felt like they were being boxed in and not given the opportunities needed to make this movie great.

The firefights looked like scenes from a science fiction movie. The tracers made it seem like a laser fight. I find it hard to believe everyone was really using the tracers that abundantly back then. And I really doubt they glowed as much as the movie depicted them too. (I’m in the military, I’ve been in simulators, the stuff being used today does not look like what’s in the movie. Except for at night, the fire does look that bright at night. But nothing glows that much in the day time.) Some of the explosions are just plain fireworks. Intentional or not, that’s what it looked like.

Aside from that… the plot was a teaser throughout. The German tanks were talked up about being superior. So I thought maybe the US would steal a German tank, like how we stole a submarine in U2. That would have been a cool twist. And would have played in well with the fact one of their tank mates spoke and read German.

But no. There was one scene where a German tank takes out four of the five US tanks and other than that, the whole German superior tanks have nothing to do with the movie. I was really hoping they were gonna steal that tank… sigh.

Then the troops settle down in a German town for a bit. And everything turns into stereotypes. All the horny soldiers start having sex with the locals and getting drunk. I was hoping for a rape scene, you know, give me some raw drama or something. (cause remember, I have been emotionally detached for this entire movie) But no. Everyone is just a horn dog and nothing really comes of it. They hint that it might happen, but it doesn’t. So again, I am left feeling let down.

Remember, I said the movie is a teaser. Builds things up so it could do something dramatic, but… it doesn’t. The big fight at the end, where they all stand their ground and try to prevent the enemy from passing them. Another let down.

At first, the tank mates look like they might split up. Some don’t want to do the suicide mission. This would have again created some awesome drama. Maybe one of them could have come back later and saved the saved the day, bringing some back up troops or something. But no, they all stay and fight to the bitter end.

And they don’t even hold the line. The Germans get through. And the only one who survives is a coward who hides, and he is then told by others that he’s a hero. Uh, what? Yeah, not sure what anyone was thinking with that kind of ending.

Overall it wasn’t a horrible movie. But there are much better war movies out there that I would pick to see instead of this. See it if you want. But I’m giving it a so-so rating.

Birdman, movie review

It’s not hard to see that Birdman is a fill in for batman. Michael Keaton is obviously making some plays out of his real life. Although I hope he found his career more satisfying than the character in “Birdman” did.

About ten minutes into this movie, the unique cinematography hit me. The entire movie is filmed in one long shot. Like, no joke. There are no cuts, no scene breaks, it’s all filmed on one camera. And although this is a mobile camera, it’s not shaky like the ones some movies use. You don’t need to worry about getting motion sickness like you might have in other handheld movies like “The Blair Witch Project”. And it’s not filmed like a documentary, the camera man isn’t in the movie, he’s just giving you a god-view of what’s going on. It’s almost like you, the audience, is a fly on the wall, following various people around.

This makes the movie feel like a Broadway show. If someone screws up in the last scene, you have to start filming the whole movie again from the start. Other actors have to get in position and change wardrobe while someone else is on scene. Now, they may have found a few ways to cheat and perhaps the movie isn’t all one long shot. But it sure looked to me like it was, and you can bet most of it was.

It’s very creative, since the movie is about a prior movie star trying to put together a Broadway show. And the result is hilarious, several scenes will leave you in stitches. There are a few factors that will leave you scratching your head as well, the plot turns out to be very deep, if you are willing to pay attention and look for it.

Overall, I’d say go see it. It did feel more like a Redbox rental though, than a movie theater movie. I’d suspect this movie will be up for a few Golden Globe nominations. So it is worth seeing.


Life After Beth, movie review

I’m always down for anything with zombies in it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t judge them just as harshly as anything else. This is a comedic zombie movie that provides everything it promises. It was odd that the cast was full of well-known comedians, but the main actor was new, at least he was to me.

This movie doesn’t fail to perform. If you liked previous zombie comedies, like “Sean of the Dead”, then you will enjoy this movie as well. It has the same vibe throughout, as well as an independent film feel, like “Little Miss Sunshine”.

The big players in the movie aren’t the guts and gore. It’s the backstory about the characters and how relatable they are. The humor is in the dialogue, there are several quotable lines that will leave you in stitches.

So yes, if comedies and zombies are something you enjoy, then definitely check out this movie. It’s a direct to DVD, so look for it on Redbox.

John Wick, movie review

This movie delivers exactly what it promises. The film has a graphic novel feel, not nearly as drastic as the “Sin City” movies. But there is a layer of grayscale darkening of the scenes and the subtitles are displayed in a manner you’d expect to see in a graphic novel. Stressed words are bolded and colored, it’s a nice touch and adds some originality.

The plot is kept simple, which I like in an action movie. When there are too many layers of conspiracies, it gets annoying trying to keep track of it all. This is a straight-cut Russian Mafia deal. John Wick is wronged and he seeks out those who wronged him.

Yes, the realism isn’t there. But right from the start the rules of this world are made clear and it abides by them. Which is good enough for me. I don’t need a movie to be believable, I just need it to stay true to itself.

There was never a moment when I was bored. There is plenty of action. Even if it’s absurd at moments. It’s still entertaining. The dialogue is half original, half cliques, a good enough mix for the style of movie it is.

The acting, never faltered. Everyone did a great job of engulfing me in this world.

So if you are looking for a great action movie, this is the one to see. Car chases, gun fights, hand-to-hand combat, this movie really has it all. And aside from some cussing, and death of course, I’d say it’s kid friendly too. I’d take an eight-year-old with me, they’d love it.

Interstellar, movie review

All I have heard it praise for this movie. So I decided to give it a try. The first hour I was reminded of M Night Shyamalan’s movie, “signs”. We are on a rural farm and strange events are occurring.

Then things get a little too convenient. Ex astronaut, now farmer, stumbles across a secret NASA program and all the scientists go, “hey while you are here, why don’t you fly our shuttle for us?” Seriously?

Then the physics lesson starts. They really tried to keep it grounded in real theories, but then they started pulling stuff out of who knows where and messing with time. You have to be really careful if you are going to do time travel. I’ve seen very few movies do it correctly. Did this movie pull it off?

Picture this, you are getting a physics lesson from a professor, he really knows his stuff and is giving all the details. But you… are super high on acid. That’s what this movie is, the interpretation of someone who is high on acid trying to understand physics.

So no. In my opinion they did not. Remember how I said things fell apart when I saw “Lucy”. This movie’s last half hour fell apart in much the same way.

If the movie would have tried less to be “real”, I would have bought more of the outrageous things they did. But as it is, the mesh didn’t work.

Spoiler, but if you want an example of what I mean: a guy gets sucked into a black hole and ends up in the fifth dimension, which happens to be behind his daughter’s bookshelf in her bedroom. Yeah… exactly.

Big Hero 6, movie review

This movie is the perfect mesh of fantasy and character. It takes place in a fictional city that is some hybrid of Tokyo and San Francisco. Technology is highly advanced. But that is not the focus. We quickly bond to our main character and his brother.

The secondary characters are all stereotypes, but that’s to be expected in a cartoon. They are still entertaining and have their moments of originality.

The plot has an emotional kick to it, on several levels. And there are numerous plot twists, some are easy to figure out, others will surprise you.

Is this as amazing as “frozen” or “the incredibles”. No, but it’s in the same realm. I did notice some bored kids, so gauge accordingly. I think the adults were enjoying it more. I’d mark it as a must see. And yes, it’s worth it to see in the theaters. There are quite a few action scenes that are nice on the big screen and would be enjoyable in 3-D, although I did not see that version.

St Vincent, movie review

I was expecting to see a lighthearted comedy. This movie did have a few good laughs. But the overall story had a very dark-depressing theme. I’m not saying it wasn’t good. But it wasn’t the lighthearted comedy I was expecting.

My only complaint is Bill Murray’s acting. He should have been the star, but he kind of flopped the scenes where he was supposed to be all serious. First, I hated the New York accent they made him speak with. You could tell it was fake. He sounded like someone who was talking like that because he wanted to make fun of New Yorkers. For some reason every time his accent got thicker, it would roughly jar me from the movie.

Then he has a stroke. And I get that he’s supposed to have trouble speaking afterwards. And they were trying to make light of it. But he came off as faking it. Like, for a while I wondered if he was really having problems or just milking it. In the end, yes, he really did have problems. But the way he performed the role, it didn’t come off that way… because you could tell he was… get this, ACTING.

Everyone else in the movie performed superbly, even minor characters were amazingly fleshed out. I would recommend it. And although darker than what I expected, the plot will pull at your heartstrings. If I had to compare it to another movie, it would be a lighter version of Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.

Fate, by Amanda Hocking (My Blood Approves book #2) book review

Once again the books started a little “off”. I’m finding this is a common trend with this author. She struggles to get the story started. In a rather abrupt manner, the main character’s brother is deathly injured and they decide to turn him into a vampire. To me, this event could have been done in a better way. But whatever, the result of having him turn, instead of Alice (the main character) did create for an entertaining tale.

I would rate this book as better than the first. The tension between picking between the two men is constant. It’s the ultimate book for readers who enjoy a good love triangle.

Now the ending, well, it rather tied up everything nicely. I was almost disappointed. Because it means there won’t be much love triangle in the next book. Or if there is, it won’t be the same. It did seem rushed and more explanation would have been nice, but otherwise I enjoyed it.

I can’t say more, because the spoilers would give away too much. But yes, I’d recommend the book.

My Blood Approves, by Amanda Hocking, book review

The beginning of this book was a bit rough for me. It read too similar to the other young adult romance books out there. Unnaturally attractive guy, everyone stares at him, ogles, ect, but he only has eyes for one girl, the one girl who isn’t ogling at him, at least not ogling quite as much.

Yup. I kept going, not sure why, glutton for punishment or maybe I was just sitting in a waiting room for five hours with nothing better to do… ahem. Anyway, once I reached the halfway mark, the book took a dramatic twist and became wildly original. Like, my jaw dropped and I was like, wow, did not see that coming.

There’s a love triangle. Go figure, right? But hang in there with me. There’s magic stuff going on and she and Peter, are basically meant for each other. There’s a pull, forcing them to want each other. But Peter is super dark and doesn’t want to like her. And Peter’s brother, mister ogles mentioned in the opening paragraph of this review, falls in love with the chick too. And they have real love, like created from friendship.

But mister ogles can’t act on it, cause she belongs to Peter. So there’s a lot of tension because she wants to be with both. And they both want to drink her blood, its a sexual thing or something.

So yeah, at first I was going to say, skip this book, nothing new. Like, the first half really is bad. But I’m a sucker for the twisted, torn, love story gone awry. So I was hooked in the second half.

Sadly it looks like this triangle gets dragged out for several books, and I don’t know if its resolved in the installments currently out, which could get annoying. But… for now, I like where this is going so I plan to give the next book a try.

I’d recommend it if you are a twilight or romance vampire fan. But, be prepared to roll your eyes a lot in the first half.

Hollowmen, by Amanda Hocking, book review

The first book in this series impressed me. But the second book read like a horror slasher movie. It was all about the guts and gore. Imagine your B rated horror movie–poor acting, cheesy dialogue and unnecessary, exaggerated violence–that’s this book.

I know a person should be lenient when it comes to the “could that really happen” aspects of a book that involves zombies. But this book really didn’t even try.

I was struggling to find a way to believe and understand the book from the start, when the main character is having abdominal surgery, wide awake with no pain killers. They are doing biopsies or something. And I’m sorry, but unless you are cutting a person open, intending to kill them, this isn’t possible. The person would struggle and you’d end up accidently cutting something that you shouldn’t. They claim they’ve done this over and over, for six months. So by now, if somehow she lived, she’d be really messed up, like a vegetable and/or insane.

Then the surgeons abandon her in the middle of surgery, which makes no sense. In the first book, her brother was evacuated first, because he was the cure and important. But now she’s the cure and they just ditch her?

She of course, frees herself and stitches herself up. Then hikes for a few days and does sit-ups, push-ups the next night, oh, and cleans it with river water. Um no, unless this surgery was just a paper cut, me thinks not. If she needs to do all this, then give her a super power or something, so I can believe it.

Then the zombie attacks get ridiculous. One example, a zombie is able to grab hold of an intestine tendril after three bites–within like ten seconds—and yanks it across the room with him when he’s kicked away. I’m not even sure a dog could accomplish that, let alone a zombie with dull human teeth. Lots of muscle and tissue to go through in the abdomen before you’d reach the intestines, ya know? (Starting to see what I mean about horror movie gore?)

Plot wise, I have the same complaints as other reviewers claim. The characters from the first book are all either dead or just briefly mentioned. People, like Lazlo, who claimed he would wait for Remy and never leave her, left on the first evacuation. And more illogical nonsense, they actually connect via CB radio but make zero effort to join up. Excuses like, “we can’t wait for you” and “our group will be too big and attract zombies” are given. Um, they just went super out of their way to get her kid brother who they didn’t even know was alive, so this seems like a much more doable quest than that. And how about you re-split the group up after you meet?

It doesn’t make sense for Remy to put so much effort into finding her brother (2 day hike the wrong direction) but zero into finding the man she loves. Unless she doesn’t love him, in which case, tell me that! Cause from how the book reads, the flame died cause, well, whatever, this CB radio only has a 2 miles radius and I’m tired, but I will hike all day tomorrow, so eh.

If you read the first book, which I still suggest you do, you’ll want to read this book. But I recommend against it. This sequel is a flop.