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Showing posts from July, 2014

Review - Lucy

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Lucy (2014), R, 90 minutes - I don't know about anyone else, but when I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought to myself 'that sounds like Limitless with Scarlett Johansson instead of Bradley Cooper'.  Of course Cooper's character willingly took drugs whereas Johansson's does not, but with Lucy, director Luc Besson explores the same basic concept of a person becoming able to access the entirety of their brain functions.

Lucy (Johansson) begins the film as an American student in Taipei.  After a crazy night out with her new boyfriend Richard (Pilou Asbaek), she's forced into being a drug mule for his employer Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi).  Mr. Jang is planning on distributing a new synthetic drug across Europe.  CPH4 increases the user's ability to access their brain's functions (the average human only accesses about 10% normally).  Before she is able to get her flight out of Taipei, an altercation causes the bag of CPH4 in her belly to rupture, floo…

Review - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), PG-13, 130 minutes - As I began writing this review, I was surprised when I realized that I had never reviewed 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. So here it is in short: I really enjoyed Rise. I felt as though it worked well as either a prequel to the original franchise or as a franchise reboot (which is the route actually being taken by these newer films).

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a direct follow up, beginning with a prologue filling in the events immediately following the end credit sequence of Rise when the infected neighbor had a nose bleed at the airport, beginning the global spread of the 'simian flu' virus caused by ALZ-113.  We then jump ahead about ten years to a time when the majority of humanity has died as a result of the flu. The ape population led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) out of San Francisco has flourished in the wild. They've begun building their own civilization and their intelligence continues to …

Rental Review - The Host (2006)

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The Host (2006), R, 119 minutes - After thoroughly enjoying Snowpiercer the other day, I decided to look into Joon-ho Bong's other films.  I figured what better place to start than with The Host (not to be confused with the 2013 Stephanie Meyer novel-based film of the same name), the film that he was working on when he first discovered Le Transperceneige (the graphic novel inspiration for Snowpiercer).

The Host revolves around the appearance of an amphibious monster years after the illegal dumping of formaldehyde polluted Seoul, South Korea's Han River .  The Park family runs a food stand along the banks of the river and during the monster's first public attack, their youngest, Hyun-seo (Ah-sung Ko) is swept up by the monster and taken back to it's lair in the sewers beneath the Wonhyo Bridge.  Hyun-seo's father Gang-doo (Kang-ho Song) was one of the people who came in contact with the monster in the effort to fight it off.  After the government swoops in and quar…

Review - Snowpiercer

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Snowpiercer (2013), R, 126 minutes - Earlier this year I stumbled upon a trailer for a dark and gritty dystopian thriller starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris.  It was listed as having been released in 2013 but I hadn't seen or heard anything about it before.  How could I have missed a film like that?  After a little digging, I learned that the film - Snowpiercer - was a project of well regarded South Korean director/writer Joon-ho Bong that was released in South Korea last August and was scheduled to make its American debut this summer.

The film opens with a prologue of newscaster voice overs that explain that on July 1, 2014, after seven years of debate, seventy nine countries across the globe agree to launch a substance known as CW-7 into the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere in order to combat the effects of global warming.  The counter effects of CW-7 were underestimated and shortly after its dispersal, the entire pl…

Review - 22 Jump Street

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22 Jump Street (2014), R, 112 minutes - I think that everyone can agree that 2012's 21 Jump Street was a surprisingly successful reboot of the Johnny Depp starring television show that aired between 1987 and 1991.  In my mind 22 Jump Street is almost as surprising, primarily because of the way it goes about continuing the buddy cop story of Officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum).

Oftentimes a sequel - especially in the comedic genre - will try so hard to duplicate the successes of the film before it that it becomes formulaic and repetitive.  22 Jump Street actually wholeheartedly embraces this but manages not to overdo it.  Following a bust that goes wrong at the beginning of the film, both Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) and Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) remind Schmidt and Jenko that they got where they are because they didn't do the same old thing, that they need to stick to what they know and go about things they way they did on their previous assignment. …

Review - Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), PG-13, 165 minutes - Why do I continue to subject myself to these films?  I always get my hopes up, just to have them dashed by a film that can't live up to my expectations for an franchise based upon one of my favorite childhood toys/cartoons.  I did enjoy the initial film from back in 2007 although calling it a guilty pleasure may be a better way to describe it these days.  2009's Revenge of the Fallen was so disappointing that it not only inspired an hour and a half long airing of grievances with friends in the parking lot immediately following our seeing it, but it was also the inspiration for what was probably the most negative review I've written.  2011 saw Dark of the Moon, which fell into the 'pleasantly surprising' category for me.  Having threatened to swear off the franchise after Revenge of the Fallen, I found this promising in itself.  Between my renewed sense of hope for the franchise and the news that the fourt…