Morgan Spurlock exploded onto the scene with this amazing documentary about the dangers of the American diet. The movie that made McDonalds change it’s menu. A must see movie.
Morgan Spurlock’s second dock is an interesting examination of the feelings towards America from the Middle East. Thought provoking stuff.
Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary about product placement in movies is a fun and informative film. Not as powerful as Super Size Me but really well done all the same.
Check out the interview I did with Mr. Spurlock at http://geekactually.com/2011/08/03/film-actually-presents-the-league-exclusive-morgan-spurlock-interview/
I’m sure that some studio executive thought that putting Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell together in an action/comedy buddy movie was a good idea, it wasn’t. Humour is flat and the action is uninspired. Stallone isn’t funny and Kurt Russell (who I like a lot) is forced.
High camp Sylvester Stallone mountain climbing action film. Director Renny Harlin is much better suited to this than his more recent 5 Days of War. Dumb, stupid fun.
A truly unfunny film that tries, unsuccessfully, to make Danny McBride a leading man. Avoid.
Although at first glance this looks like a stand alone, full reboot of the classic “Planet of the Apes” series of films, on closer inspection there are a lot of little hints that this is actually pretty closely related to the original 1968 film starring Charlton Heston. Forget the Tim Burton reboot in 2001, this film is not related to that at all.
Set in the present day, scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is experimenting on chimps, trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease to save his father (John Lithgow). His new drug shows amazing results healing the brain and as a side effect it seems to be boosting the intelligence of the apes. After a lab mishap, his chimps are destroyed except for one newborn who has inherited the effects of the drug from his mother. Rodman takes the chimp named Caesar home and continues to study him while he raises him. When Caesar is taken from Rodman and sent to an ape shelter, he uses his intelligence to help organise the other apes and the revolution begins.
The film is heavily influenced by the 1972 film “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (part 4 in the original series) but handled in much more realistic way. Gone is the camp production design, rubber masks and over the top, subtle as a brick parallels to slavery. Here we have nuanced performances and a very realistic chain of events that make you buy into the sci-fi concepts. Director Rupert Wyatt (“The Escapist”) obviously believed, to his credit, that these apes and their performances are as important as the human characters. You feel the raw emotion from these apes, you feel their frustration, you feel their anger.
Credit must also be given to Peter Jackson’s WETA Digital who have created their most impressive CG creatures to date. That is a big statement considering they are the same company that brought us “The Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong”, “Avatar” and the soon to be released “The Adventures of Tintin”. Even though Caesar and the rest of the apes are CG creations, they have real personalities. Using the latest in Motion Capture (Mo-Cap) technology WETA has truly brought living creatures to life on the screen. Using special mobile Mo-Cap equipment, WETA was able to capture veteran Mo-Cap actor Andy Serkis’ (who supplies an amazing performance for Caesar) performance as he actually interacted with the live actors on set, this allows for much more realistic interaction between actor and effect.
Everything works in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, simple as that. I enjoyed the film very much and I recommend it as a great adventure film that also asks deeper questions about man meddling with nature and our treatment of what we deem as lesser creatures. This is highly recommended viewing and I really hope that they continue the series into a reboot of the original 1968 film. Yes, I actually said I wanted to see a reboot, that is how good this film is.
Originally published on Geek Actually http://geekactually.com/2011/08/04/review-rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes/
Francis Ford Coppola’s war masterpiece has been released on Blu-Ray… buy it and watch it now! That is all I can say, it is an amazing film and looks terrific in HD.
Second viewing, had to a) see it again and b) had to take my family. Love this film. See the older post for details.
I needed sleep.
Martin (Casino Royal & Green Lantern) Campbell’s mountain climbing film is silly and vaguely campy but the climbing stuff is visually spectacular.
Of all the Marvel comic adaptations, I most worried about Captain America because this is a hard comic to adapt. Steve Rogers AKA Captain America is essentially a flag waving, patriotic boy scout and that works in printed form but could end up being a cheesy corn dog on screen. True “Thor” is about an Asgardian thunder god but at it’s core it is essentially a fantasy film and we have done that before, so I had a lot of trust that it would work. Captain America however is rooted in the real world and it would be really easy to make this a nauseatingly patriotic Michael Bay movie.
So this brings us to “Captain America: The First Avenger”, the latest in the current series of Marvel films that lead into next year’s “The Avengers”. Did director Joe Johnston (“Jumanji” & “The Rocketeer”) manage to bring Captain Steve Rogers to the big screen successfully? The answer is simple, yes he absolutely did. Johnston and his writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, have found the balance to bring Cap to life and one of the prime reasons this works so well was the decision to take the character back to his origins and set it in the World War II era. It would have been easy for the filmmakers to have a short World War II intro and then bring Cap into the modern world like the 1990 Albert Pyun version but we probably would have ended up with a similar mess.
The 1940’s wartime era plays into that patriotic symbol theme that is vital for Captain America to work. Today it would have seemed tacky to send Captain America to Iraq or Afghanistan. The World War II setting offers Captain America a chance to be a real war hero, in a time when war heroes were celebrated, and to fight a clearly defined, evil enemy that everyone recognizes as a threat. Smart move Marvel Pictures.
The story of “Captain America: The First Avenger” is simple and for anyone who has ever read a Captain America comic, instantly recognisable. Week, puny Steve Rogers wants to join the army and fight for America. What he lacks in body size or health he makes up with bravery, heart and a solid moral code. When asked if he wants to kill Nazis, he answers that he doesn’t want to kill anyone, he just hates bullies. After being rejected over and over again he is finally spotted by a scientist who is working on the super soldier program. The scientist, Dr. Abraham Erskine (played brilliantly by Stanley Tucci), recognises that Rogers has the right stuff for his program. A quick experiment later and wimpy Steve Rogers is turned into the super buff super soldier.
Let me just take a moment to say how much I loved Chris Evans in this film. Evans has always played brash and cocky characters. Take a look at “Scott Pilgrim Saves the World” or the “Fantastic Four” films for examples. We loved him in those roles to be sure, but Steve Rogers allows him to play a really humble, polite and sweet character and even after his transformation, he retains that pure and humble spirit. He may have superpowers but he really is just a kid from Brooklyn. While other superheroes are dark, brooding and full of doubt and/or pain, Captain America is like a breath of fresh air, he is brave and bright. He wants to be a superhero to do good, simple as that.
Okay, back to the film. After a minor action scene, Rogers becomes really popular in the USO circuit selling war bonds as Captain America, cheesy costume and all. It is when his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) goes MIA that Steve Rogers jumps to action and the real Captain America is born. With a new costume, super shield and a crack team of commandos at his disposal, Captain America sets about systematically dismantling Hydra, the super evil science division of the Nazis led by Germany’s own super soldier, the evil Red Skull.
Hugo Weaving’s scenery chewing performance as the Red Skull is brilliant and he often steals the film. In fact the performances by the entire supporting cast are rock solid and this helps Evans sell the more fantastical aspects of the film. Along with the already mentioned Tucci, Weaving and Stan is the ever reliable Tommy Lee Jones as Col. Chester Phillips (Cap’s superior officer) and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (yes, Iron Man’s dad). But I have to give special mention to Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Steve Roger’s love interest. Atwell is not only physically beautiful but she also has guts and can hold her own with the boys. I found the mutual attraction between Rogers and Carter pitch perfect and I think it is one of the most successful love stories in the Marvel films yet. She is a star in the making and I look forward to her future career.
So far I have gushed and to be fair I must point out that the film’s third act does have a minor logic flaw, but in the great scheme of things it doesn’t take away the sheer pleasure of watching this film. I found that I had a smile on my face from beginning to end.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” proves again that Marvel knows how to bring their heroes to the big screen like no other company can. It is simply the best Marvel superhero film yet and Chris Evans IS Captain America. I can’t wait to see “The Avengers” in 2012.
Oh, and one last note: stay to the end of the credits for the most satisfying post credit sequence to date.
Originally published on Geek Actually http://geekactually.com/2011/07/26/review-captain-america-the-first-avenger/
An interesting film about a child assassin. Strong fairy tale motifs run throughout the film and it is beautifully photographed. It drags in the middle but it’s finale makes up for it.
Burt Reynold’s slow but well done adaptation of the cop novel still holds up, mostly. The film that introduced Rachel Ward to the world.
Bryan Singer gave superheroes new life on the big screen at a time when the superhero film was basically dead. A really good film that captures the essence of the comic book characters.
A second viewing with my lovely wife.
A so so monster movie with a great cast. Nice nudity but.
What could have been a very interesting film about war zone reporters is completely undermined by Renny Harlin, a director who is ill equipped for the material.
A brutal and bloody samurai film that is so much damn fun.
A tremendous historically drama about the conspiracy surrounding the assassination of Lincoln. Amazing parallels to modern history.