Looper is the sort of film that is enjoyable; not because it has plenty of action and violence, but because the story is solid and well thought out. As the story goes, Joe is a “Looper”-a type of contract killer in the future. Through narration, Joe explains that time travel is invented and outlawed thirty years from the time set in the story. He says that the crime bosses are the only ones who use time travel illegally in order to dispose of troublesome individuals who exist at the time. So, Joe and other Loopers are contracted to kill those people sent back in time and dispose of them.
Joe is one of the best Loopers in the business, but his job and future are threatened when his thirty years older self is sent back and escapes. This creates a number of paradoxes which are all addressed by the films end. We do learn that the reason old Joe escapes has to do with a man from his timeline called “Rainmaker” who has been sending the aged Loopers back in time to be killed by their younger selves.
The action gets intense and the visual effects are top-notch however, the most astonishing achievement visually is how the film makers made Joseph Gordon-Levitt; who plays Joe, resemble Bruce Willis (Older Joe) so closely. There were moments where they looked identical. Levitt should also be praised for his ability to mimic Willis’ facial expressions and even his manner of speech. Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels play integral roles in the film as well.
Looper is definitely worth a watch though it might be a good idea to leave the kids at home. This film has quite a few bloody scenes, plenty of swear words, some female nudity and themes that children will not understand.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Indeed
This weekend, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides reunites us with the best Pirate there ever was: Captain Jack Sparrow and we find him as he was when we were first introduced to him in Curse of the Black Pearl. Without a ship.
As a matter of fact, we find the Captain in London going about the business of rescuing a trusted colleague and friend…himself. He also learns of a rumor that he is in London to procure a ship and a crew. Interestingly enough, it is these two events that set the film in motion, because once Jack investigates the origin of the rumor, he finds himself–yes his real self–face to face with an ex lover and eventually ends up getting shanghaied on to another pirates ship by that same ex beau. Confused? Let us make things more clear.
At the beginning of the film we are shown that the Spaniards have found the location of Ponce De Leon’s long-lost ship. Such a discovery is significant because Ponce De Leon famously claimed to have found the illusive fountain of youth. King George (Richard Griffiths) discovers Spain’s efforts to locate the fountain and attempts to lure Captain Jack Sparrow into the employ of the crown by allying him with a privateer. Naturally, Jack refuses and escapes royal custody in his own unique fashion. To quote a previous POTC movie: “Does he plan it all out, make it up as he goes along?”
Jack then arrives at a pub where he learns that someone is actually impersonating him and looking for a crew. He confronts the imposter and makes a pretty shocking discovery. An old flame of his is in town. Angelica (Penelope Cruz).
He is reunited with her only to become victim to the woman’s deviousness. She is a pirate after all. What’s worse is that poor Jack finds himself as part of the crew on another pirates ship. The one pirate all pirates fear. Edward Teach aka Blackbeard(Ian McShane). A pirate who is historically listed as the most notorious pirate of the Spanish Main during that time period.
While on Blackbeard’s ship Jack learns that the Captain of Queen Anne’s Revenge is also after the fountain of youth, though for much darker reasons than Sparrow himself.
Thus, we the audience are taken on yet another wild, exciting, and strange Pirates of the Caribbean adventure. Johnny Depp is spectacular as always in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. Kevin McNally returns as Gibbs as does Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa.
It may already have been said, but Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has to be the best Pirates film ever. It helps that the story is not too complex and there is more focus on Jack Sparrow; a benefit of the central plot not being the romance between a young blacksmith and the Governor’s daughter. There is a small amount of romance, but it serves as a contrast to Blackbeard’s evil. Another noticeable difference is a decidedly small amount CGI which really allows for the more human elements to play out.
In short. Go see Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides. It is most certainly worth it. Oh and it has mermaids in it.
Thor Hammers The Competition
As of yesterday, May 9, Thor is the number one movie in the box office after being in theaters for only four days. Not surprising for a superhero movie, but still, very good for an untested franchise.
Granted, Thor has the benefit of having been a comic book hero for the last four decades and the character has been seen on TV. Thor appears in The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988) and in numerous Marvel cartoons, such as Hulk Vs. Thor. Thus, the character has a relatively large fan base which has been waiting for a Thor movie for a long while.
The wait is over. Thor can be seen across the country in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D. The latter is well worth the money if you can afford it.
Director Kenneth Branagh–yes, that Kenneth Branagh–gives us an origin story that tells us how Thor comes to be on Earth and through trial and tribulation becomes the hero–and God–that fans are familiar with. While on Earth, he meets Jane, who becomes his love interest and stands up to a powerful threat in order to protect her and his friends. The resulting consequence is spectacular at the very least and pays homage to another kind of hero that most Christians are familiar with. Though, one may want to see the movie in order to understand what is meant by thatparticular sentence. Apologies for the vagueness.
The acting in Thor is superb. Little wonder, as two of the actors are Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman, who brought their characters to life the way they would have in any other film each has ever worked on. Chris Hemsworth is certainly no slouch either, portraying Thor in a way that looked so natural and realistic. It was as if the character seen in comics had come to life.
The final thing that makes Thor such a great movie, is the design of the sets. Magnificent! That’s really the best word for them. Magnificent in every way. They are truly a sight to behold. Azgard; the home of Thor, Odin and Loke is wonderous certainly as majestic as one would picture the home of the Gods. These sets spark the imagination and look as if they lept out of the comics and onto the screen. Marvelous.
If you are looking for a great movie to see with just the right amount of humor, action, romance, intrigue and fantasy fun, then Thor is abso-positively the film you should see.
Harry Potter Ultimate Edition
Excited for Harry Potter 8 coming to theaters in July? Need something to get you through May and June? Why not get the Harry Potter Ultimate Edition box sets that have been getting released every few months?
Currently Harry Potter 1-4 are available as the collectible ultimate edition sets on both DVD and Blu Ray. Ultimate Editions for Harry Potter five and six are arriving on June, 14 2011 according to Amazon.com.
The ultimate editions are an excellent addition to any true fan of the Harry Potter films. Each set comes with four discs. The feature film (both theatrical and extended versions), two special features discs and a digital copy. For some, having both the theatrical and extended cuts of each film could be enough. However, there is more.
These box sets include a book containing a collection of production stills from each of the movies, a collectible hologram of the cover art, and two character cards with a portrait of some of your favorite–and not so favorite–characters from the movies such as Rubeus Hagrid and Severus Snape.
What more could a Harry Potter fan ask for?
As the owner of the first four sets I can attest to the collectible nature of the ultimate editions and they certainly are an excellent addition to the wall of movies–no exaggeration there–in my room. This Harry Potter fan plans to thoroughly watch these four films prior to the release of the long-awaited and highly anticipated conclusion to the Harry Potter saga in July.
The Blu Ray sets run for $49.99 off the shelf, but on Amazon.com you can find them for $39.99. The DVD versions of the sets are $39.95 in store and $25.99 on Amazon.com
Go forth Harry Potter-ites. Go forth and satisfy that need to see the adventures of the boy who lived.
There’s No Place Like Rio
Rio is the story of Blu, a Blue Macaw who is swept from his forest home as a young bird, and is returned to his native Rio De Janeiro after being raised in Minnesota for fifteen years. The intent of his arrival is to preserve the species because Blu is one of only two existing Blue Macaws.
All appears to go well until Blu and the other Macaw–named Jewel–are stolen by smugglers. The would be “love birds” escape from their captors. However, the two are chained together. Soon, the duo are not only fighting to survive the relentless efforts of Nigel–a Cockatiel–to enslave them once more, but also to find a way out of their restraints.
Fortunately for the two, they meet Raphael. A Toucan with a big heart and an even bigger family. He leads them to Luiz. A bulldog with a slobbering issue. We will just leave the rest to your imagination. No spoilers in this post!
The film can be seen in both 2D and 3D. While most computer animated films are made to take advantage of the 3D effect ( Despicable Me, Megamind, How To Train Your Dragon). Rio only benefits from added depth, which really works for the panoramic views because it just makes them seem more immense. Either way you cannot go wrong because the movie is that good.
Rio is a fantastic film because it has a great story, fantastic musical numbers that add to the feel and essence of Rio, and the hilarious moments throughout the film. Some of which may not be easily forgotten. You will know when you see them. The voice acting is also superb. Kudos to the cast which includes Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Will I. Am, Tracy Morgan and Leslie Mann.
Do yourself a favor. Go see Rio. Take someone special. It will be like going to Carnival
Hanna: Adapt or Die
Let’s make this brief. Hanna warrants the attention of ardent cinephiles and average movie goers alike. Not because the film is intelligently made or because it has some intense action sequences, but because the film tells the story of a young girl trying to find herself amidst the turmoil of her life so eloquently, that the experience washes over you as does the intricacies of a work of art.
Hanna is exactly that. A work of art. In a brilliant re imagining of the classic fairytale, director Joe Wright brings us an spy-action odyssey as ScreenRant calls it in their review.
We follow Hanna on her journey from isolation to civilization and join her as she discovers friendship, is crushed by betrayal and ultimately uses all of her resources and training to fight the wolves who would keep her from being a part of the world which she has only recently become a part of. A world that had only existed in Hanna’s imagination and is now a reality she never wants to depart from. To survive, Hanna must do what her father taught. Adapt or die.
Eric Bana stars as Hanna’s father, Erik Heller. Cate Blanchett is Marissa, a federal agent bent on destroying Hanna and Erik. Saoirse Ronan embodies Hanna so completely, that Hanna becomes more than just a figure on the screen, but a real person. That is the true accomplishment of this film and all who made it. The story and characters are so real that it changes from just a tale to an experience.
Sucker Punch: Pure Escapism
Sucker Punch is every sci-fi, fantasy, action, and anime fans dream movie. There is not a film out today that has four women dressed like they came out of an anime movie from Japan fighting Nazi zombies, robots, a dragon, and three giant samurai warriors. This shot from the original trailer where Baby Doll aggressively attacks one of those giant samurai is an excellent example of the kind of imagery seen throughout the film.
The fact that Baby Doll is flying through the air in an offensive against her enormous foe with naught but a katana and a 9mm, dressed in a Japanese schoolgirl outfit, is an incredible vision in itself. Does Sucker Punch offer more than intense action sequences, eye popping visual effects and a mind-bending storyline?
There is a definite understanding from those who have and have not seen the film that Emily Browning’s character, Baby Doll is admitted to a mental institution and intends to escape. It is also evident that she turns to her imagined world to circumvent the reality she is living. To that end there are three layers to the story. Baby Doll’s reality, her perception of that reality and the fantasy world she has created.
To Baby Doll, the mental institution is a gentleman’s club where she and Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung), and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) are the entertainment who not only dance for the patrons of the establishment, but also perform other “favors” for the gentlemen who visit. This is unacceptable and Baby Doll enlists the others to help plan for their escape. In order for the escape to succeed they must retrieve five elements: A map, a lighter, a knife and key with the fifth item being a mystery.
The women treat each goal as a mission with Baby Doll serving as decoy because she is the most alluring and seductive dancer of the group. Whenever Baby Doll is required to dance, she escapes into her fantasy world and envisions how the missions are carried out. Each mission finds them in a different world environment. In the first, they are in World War I. The second puts them in a medieval world. The third mission has the women on another planet. In each of the environments the map, lighter, and knife are uniquely represented.
Sucker Punch is certainly a one-of-a-kind movie and is a most ambitious undertaking by director Zack Snyder. However, the real underlying story might not be starkly evident to the unseasoned moviegoer.
What some might miss, among the layers of reality and fantasy, is that Sucker Punch is a story of a young woman crushed by the tragic events in her life, yet finds the strength to fight the darkness within her.
Sucker Punch could use a few more ties to the reality that Baby Doll is experiencing, if only in support of the notion that her fantasy world is where she finds the courage to cope with the events that have occurred in her life.
Nevertheless, Sucker Punch is a movie that should not be missed. While it may seem like a crazy graphic novel come to life–in true Zack Snyder fashion—at the films core, there is a deeper human story.
Battle:Los Angeles The Few. The Proud
Battle:LA is a war movie. The main difference between it and other war movies is the enemy is not human, but from another planet and they have come to exterminate the human race.
Some might try to compare the film to other alien invasion movies, like War of The Worlds or Independence Day. Let them. They are missing the point.
What those individuals aren’t seeing is that Battle:LA salutes the armed forces of the United States of America. Most particularly the Marines.
Aaron Eckhart is SSGT (Staff Sergeant) Nantz who is preparing for retirement. When the enemy strikes he is called to battle one last time. Though soldiers in his new squad question his ability to lead because of an incident in Iraq where two men under his command were killed, he does his duty and does it well. Proving that he is a capable leader.
The mission is to locate civilians and bring them to safety before a scheduled bomb drop on the city. The Marines are met with ever increasing odds even after they are joined by an Air Force Tech Sergeant (Michelle Rodriguez). Still, the soldiers continue on. Determined to defeat the advancing alien threat.
In the end the film has one clear message: if ever the world were invaded by hostile aliens our military will fight to the death to protect their families, country and way of life because they are the few and the proud and they do it for us everyday.
Rango is a one of a kind film. In fact it is such a special addition to modern cinema, that assuming it is just another computer animated movie is a fallacy. The reason is because Rango isn’t the kind of animated production that is tailored to make us laugh-though there are quite a few moments that are funny. It is simply a vehicle for telling a story. This particular story happens to be about a lizard who becomes the legendary Rango.
When first we meet Rango, there is no evidence of anything but a lonely lizard who has nothing to keep him company except his frequent day dreams.
This all changes when his terrarium is flung from the back of a car and smashes to bits. Now a free lizard, Rango is told by an old armadillo that he must find the city of Dirt before he can find his destiny. Rango arrives in Dirt after he hitches a ride with one of the locals. Rango discovers a town that is so behind that it is still in the Old West. Within the first few hours of his arrival, Rango establishes himself as a hero who killed seven outlaws with only one bullet. The tall tale earns him the admiration of the townsfolk and after he manages to dispose of a hawk that preyed on the inhabitants of Dirt he is made Sheriff.
The newly appointed law enforcement officer soon realizes that Dirt isn’t just in a drought, but doesn’t have any water at all. Determined to be the hero that he has convinced everyone he is Rango sets out to solve the water problem. Along the way he learns what a true hero is and the sacrifices he must make to be that man…or lizard.
There are a number of reasons to see Rango. One may be to hear the superb voice acting of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy and Timothy Olyphant to name a few. Another is two view the incredibly photo realistic CGI. Whatever your reasons, Rango is the film to see because it tells the tale of how an otherwise self absorbed individual can become the selfless hero willing to protect the weak and innocent at any cost.
I Am Number Four:A Refugees Tale
If any of us were a young girl or boy far from a home we barely remember, had powers beyond our imagination and a mysterious, yet noble destiny to fulfill while being hunted by a ruthless evil intent on destroying us, what would we do? Would we stand and fight, or run away as we have for the last eighteen years?
That is the question that lies within the story of Dreamworks new film, I Am Number Four. A film in which the hero, John- played by Alex Pettyfer– is the fourth of nine children being tracked down and killed by a brutal enemy because of the powers they possess and he is the next target. For most of John’s childhood he and his protector, Henri (Timothy Olyphant) must move from one state to another to avoid being found.
When they arrive in Paradise, Ohio,John discovers the powers that were passed to him from his parents while at the same time adjusting to a new school. This makes fitting in a little difficult for John. Nevertheless, he manages to spark the interest of a local girl named Sarah (Dianna Agron) who has a passion for photography.
As the foe that hunts him draws near, John is faced with a decision. Stay and fight? Or run, and live another day?
I Am Number Four is more than just another science fiction film with great special effects and exhilarating action. It is a movie which tells the tale of a young man ripped from the home to which he belonged and must rise to meet his destiny head on without fear in order to protect his new home. Proving that home is not where the heart is, but where we make it or, just where all the best people are.