Friday, July 17, 2015

ANT-MAN a no spoilers review


I had to make a deal with my wife to see Ant-Man on the Thursday before its official release. But alas that is the life of a nerd dad. Ok, maybe I’m laying it on a bit thick, but the deal was way worth it...Still I digress.

If you are a super hero fanatic like myself, you'll enjoy this movie. The special effects are well done. The shrinking and growing scenes are cool and believable. The CGI ants were also cool. My wife was actually surprised by the number of ants in the ANT-MAN movie…lol. There were a few times that the shrinking scenes were a little hard to follow, but I'm sure it'll be fine the second time I see it.

Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd do a good job of portraying our heroes. The torch passing between the two works well on screen. Former Lost hottie Evangline Lilly was cool as Hope. At first I thought her character was too rigid, but she warms up later. As expected with a Marvel movie, the weakest part of the film is the villain. While Corey Stoll is ok, it’s like he can’t make up his mind whether he was nefarious, psychotic, or simply misunderstood. While that might work with say the Joker, it makes Stoll’s motives seem more manufactured. Besides Rudds’ wisecracks and humor, there is the "plucky comedy relief" from what equates to sidekicks; in the form of Michael Pena, T.I., and David Dastmalchian. Their roles are funny and well placed. Pena is especially fun with his unique method of explaining things to our hero.

What makes this film especially good for me is the reason that I have a soft spot for all the Disney/Marvel super hero films...the Marvel Cinematic Universe! The fact that the films are connected and you get cameos and mentions of events from other films tickles my super hero loving bones. Some of the things they mentioned (nods and connections to other Marvel characters and movies) in the film almost gave me a nerdgasm. Then there are the cameos, and those actually did give me a several nerdgasms.

There are TWO post credit scenes, so make sure you stay for both.

Ant-Man is a must see for the super hero/comic lover, the Disney film lover, and everyone in between.

I give Ant-Man a B+

Thursday, July 16, 2015

LATE TO THE PARTY - Movie Review Terminator: Genisys


It’s been a few weeks since the release of Terminator: Genisys and I just had the chance to see it. I’ve seen several reviews and caught a comment or two online that mentioned boycotting Terminator. Either way, I was determined to see this film. I guess I felt I owed something to the memories I had growing up with the first two Terminator films. Besides, I figured no matter what happens in this reboot of the Terminator franchise; it couldn’t be any worse than the third Terminator film. Terminator: Rise of the Machines left such a bad taste in my mouth compared to two prior films that I hadn’t even thought about seeing the fourth installment of the franchise until I decided to write this article.

The premise of the film deals with an alternate timeline that begins the moment that Kyle Reese was sent back in time to save Sarah Connor. Skynet intercepts John Connor afterwards and causes the alternate timeline; thus justifying to us nerds a reason for the reboot, different actors and such. Still, you can’t have a good Terminator film without Arnold. And he was true to his word; for Genisys, he came back. 

Honestly, I was more satisfied with Genisys than I thought I’d be. Still, I wouldn’t rank Genisys over T2 if I was making a list. I warn anyone who is a fan of the Terminator franchise and is planning to see Genisys not to fall into the trap of comparing the Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese characters from the first two films and the current one. While the characters managed to have similarities, I believe Genisys did a decent job of NOT trying to modernize or imitate the original characters.

The special effects were done well, especially the new big bad, the T-3000. It was nerdtastic to see the nods that were put in to the former films; such as the police chase with Reese after his arrival, the T-1000, even the classic “come with me if you want to live” line.

Seeing “the mother of dragons” Emilia Clarke play Sarah Connor was cool. Emilia was not the scared waitress running for her life that we’d seen before. She had this hard to describe cuteness while still being able to kick arse. I lost some nerd cred though as my buddy had to tell me after the movie that Daenerys Targaryen was the mother of John Conner.  I liked Arnold as “Pops”, the guardian cyborg. He had enough “unintentional sarcasm” as the father figure without emotions and that made him work. We get more character development I’d say from Reese in Genisys, Jai Courtney did a fair job in his portrayal. I did have an issue with John Conner played by Jason Clarke. While the effects surrounding Clarke as the T-3000 were awesome, it was the character of John Conner that left me wanting.

While I know it’s a nitpick, his battle scarred face seemed a bit over the top and unnecessary. While I can’t put my finger on it, something was lacking with his performance whether it was his dialog or his body language. And if we didn’t get enough nerdgasms from the film, Matt Smith, that’s right Whovians, The Doctor makes an appearance. In all, Terminator: Genisys was a decent film. I would suggest any Terminator fan should give it a chance. The effects, the nods, and performances were good as a whole. 

I did have issues with a few things in the plot. The heroes go back to the day before Genisys aka Skynet was about to be “born”. If you have a time machine, why not a week or a month? If it’s that important, the life or death of the planet, why put it to chance for a single day, like Pops said, “traffic”Speaking of “Pops”, he had been preparing for the day for years and all he had was a room full of guns and explosives. Seems like he could’ve done something else.  John Conner kills a security guard after saying he can’t have any witnesses… witnesses for what? You’re about to nuke the planet…who cares if this guy lives for a few more minutes, he would’ve died later anyway. After the detonator is destroyed, our heroes activate the non-functional time machine and it just happens to explode and detonate the planted explosives. It wasn’t clear by any stretch that in the last few minutes before Skynet’s awakening that the machine would explode and solve their no detonator issue.

While I don’t want to compare the films, over 10 years ago when I walked out of the theatre after seeing T2; I was excited and in awe. I still have vivid memories of the film to this day. Unfortunately even with nitpicks aside, I don’t see that happening for Terminator: Genisys. It was a good film that missed the mark on being a great one.

I give Terminator: Genisys a solid B! Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think...