The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman

I saw it!  It was good.  Well, it was really good.  Did I mention that I really, really liked it?  Oh good, because I was afraid I didn’t mention that it was a very good reboot of the franchise and the casting was spot on.  The story’s slightly different this time – no Harry no Green Goblin.  This reboot gives us a spunky cool girlfriend played by Emma Stone (great job!)  And we have Rhys Ifans (aka Nigel ‘The Leg’ Gruff – I loved him in The Replacements) as a Lizard / not-so-much-a-mad-scientist-scientist-rather-one-who’s-forced-into-doing-something-he-knows-he-shouldn’t-but-does-anyway-scientist instead.

I saw the 2D version instead of the 3D version.  You could tell which scenes were shot specificially for the 3D audience.

Andrew Garfield is the perfect cast for Peter Parker.  He’s a breath of fresh air in his portayal of Peter Parker and should not be confused in any way shape or form with Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. I’m glad that the writers went in the direction of Peter being a very brainy kid because the Peter Parker toys were a great addition to the movie.  The gadgets lent quite a bit of definition to Peter’s character.  Emma Stone’s always good with whatever you throw at her so her portrayal of Gwen Stacy was a perfect counter-part to Andrew’s Peter Parker.  It’s always great to get a chance to see Denis Leary.  I positively love that sarcastic dry sense of humor he has.  Mr. Sheen and Ms. Field were great addition to the cast as was the “Hey look!  It’s C.Thomas Howell!” moment when he was Jack’s Dad (His son was too afraid to get out of the burning car.)

  • Andrew Garfield (Spidey/Peter Parker)
  • Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy)
  • Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Connors)
  • Denis Leary (Cpt Stacy/Gwen’s Dad)
  • Campbell Scott (Richard Parker/Peter’s Dad)
  • Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben)
  • Sally Field (Aunt May)
  • and C. Thomas Howell (Jack’s Father) got a part as well.

So everyone go see it.  Take friends and/or family.  You’ll be glad you saw it on the big screen.

Tron: Legacy – The sequel

In 1982, a movie named Tron hit the screen.  Tron was an adventure set in a digital world constructed with neon and day-glo colors inside a computer system controlled by the Master Control Program (MCP).  Tron starred Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn / Clu – Codified Likeness Utility), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley / Tron), Cindy Morgan (Lora / Yori), Peter Jurasik (Crom) and David Warner (Ed Dillinger / Sark / MCP).  Gladiator games ruled the digital frontier.  Programs fought for survival in disc ring combat, light cycle combat and other such now-iconic modes of warfare on the Grid.  The MCP’s rule of the Grid was absolute in this digital world.  In an attempt to thwart Flynn’s interference from the outside world, MCP used cutting-edge technology to digitally store Flynn inside the computer world which it controls.  Three adventurers – one human (Flynn), two digital (Tron and Yori)  – set out to wrestle control from the MCP and get Flynn back to the real world.  There’s only one place this can happen – the uplink tower at the heart of the MCP’s citadel.  Thus, our adventure began.

Nearly thirty years later, we revisit the world of Tron in Tron: Legacy starring Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn / Clu), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn, Kevin’s son), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradely / Tron) and introducing Olivia Wilde (Quorra) to the story.   Lured to the old arcade shop where his Dad used to work by Clu, Sam begrudgingly seeks to find out what may have happened to his estranged father – a father nearly twenty years absent – seeking the answer to one question: why did you abandon me?  Finding a system clock running with over twenty years of run-time on it, Sam – like his father – is transported into Grid where he now faces both foes old and new – as well as an upgraded Grid.

With the MCP gone, the Grid has come  under complete domination of Clu – Kevin Flynn’s surrogate program who’s sole purpose was to create a perfect environment.  Clu seeks to eradicate anything he deems not “perfect”. Kevin Flynn – part of this imperfection himself – manages to escape Clu’s purge into exile to the rugged undeveloped part of the Grid.  In his absence, Clu assumes complete control.  Once again, gladitorial games are afoot on the Gaming Grid.  Once again, programs are forced into combat against one another in a game of digital survival.

Enter one Sam Flynn.

Sam is immedately thrust into the gladitorial games upon being digitally downloaded by Clu while in his father’s old workshop.  Coming to his rescue is Olivia Wilde (Quorra) complete with cool all-terrain car, martial artist, weapons and vehicle expert and all-around good-looking gal.  Along the way, Sam meets colorful characters such as Castor / Zuse, Sirens of exquisite beauty and grace, and a Terminator-style killing machine known as Rinzler.  Sam reunites with his father only to realize that he’s a pawn in Clu’s bigger game. The story moves to its logical conclusion with Sam, Quorra and Kevin reaching the uplink tower all the while being doggedly pursued by Rinzler and Clu’s minions.  It’s a straight-line plot.  There are no fancy twists and turns.  No unexpected revelations.  Yet, Tron: Legacy accomplishes exactly what it set out to do: tell another piece of the Tron story in good cinematic fashion – and tell it well.

Tron: Legacy‘s punctuated by such fabulous performances by the likes of Michael Sheen (Castor / Zuse) in his role as the End of Line bar owner; kick-ass techno music by Daft Punk, some seriously sick combat sequences and stunning visual effects throughout.  Beau Garrett, Serinda Swan, Yaya DeCosta, and Elizabeth Mathis add a sense of the exotic as our Sirens in the movie.  Ring combat and light-cycle combat along with other familiar components lend a continuity to both films. In addition, we get to see new vehicles and dazzling ground and aerial combat sequences in Tron: Legacy. All of these elements work together to bring another chapter in the Tron universe right to your doorstep live and in technocolor.  Whether you see this in 2D or 3D, you’ll want to see it on the big screen – or if you have one at home, a big screen of your own should you choose to wait.

From all of us, to all of you: Well done boys and girls. Well done, indeed.

Green Zone

Matt Damon’s back, but this time in fatigues not turtleneck sweaters and gun-concealing overcoats.  Straight up, Green Zone is a good movie.  The stage is set, the plot begins to unfold and the major players are introduced at the outset.  Matt plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller.  Miller’s task is to secure Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) sites in Iraq as the US invades.  Iraqis are literally looting sites he’s moving to inspect.  His team’s sufficiently exposed, but he has to lock down the sites and secure whatever’s there.  That’s his mission.

After three misses, Miller starts asking questions.  Why are these sites empty?  Where are we getting this faulty intel?  Miller asks realistic plausible questions many Americans were asking themselves after the Gulf War at the time.  Many of these questions still remain unanswered to the general public’s satisfaction even today.   Miller finds himself working against the clock.  He discovers he barely misses General Al Rawi, an Iraqi General in charge of Iraq’s chemical weapons program.  If anyone knew where the WMDs were in Iraq, Al Rawi would.  He knows if he bags the Ace of Clubs (Al Rawi’s card in the deck of 52), he can remove a big player from the board and move on those WMD sites to complete his mission.  The pace of the movie’s good.  Damon’s character’s a smart, moral, and decisive character.  Miller’s chief opponent is Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) who’s source (Magellan) inside the Iraqi military provided the WMD intel.  Poundstone keeps a Special Forces Commander Briggs (Jason Isaacs) in his back pocket to add to the excitement.  Briggs snatches up Miller’s prisoners who have information on Al Rawi.  Miller needs Al Rawi to get answers.  Heading back to HQ for some answers as to why his prisoners were taken from him, Miller meets a CIA guy named Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson).  Poundstone and Brown are clearly political opponents.  Amy Ryan plays journalist Lawrie Dayne who watches Miller and Brown having a conversation at HQ.  More motivations start coming to light as Miller begins putting some of the pieces together.  The tension’s constant throughout the film as Miller struggles to stay ahead of his as-yet-unseen opponents as he gets closer to the truth.  The movie’s filled with plenty of gritty action from breaching buildings, gun battles, hand-to-hand combat, a Blackhawk helicopter filled with surveillance gear that  just cooool to good old car/HUMVEE) chases.

Green Zone‘s definitely worth seeing in the theater, but like most films these days, it is one you can wait on to hit DVD if you have a nice 42″+ flatscreen TV.

Brainz….

Zombieland

Yes, they’re back.  Those flesh-eating fiends we all have come to know and love so well: zombies.  Apparently, you get a virus, your brain swells, and suddenly, you’re overcome with the desire for human entrails.  This movie’s a riot.  All of the characters are named after cities they’re from.  It’s a good romp across the American flatland where surviving from day to day is all that matters.  There is no safe place on the Zombie planet (formerly known as Earth) because zombies are everywhere.  These zombies aren’t your normal run of the mill foot-draggers either.  They can run a forty at four seconds flat.  Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg) has a list of survival rules that’s kept him alive.  Throughout the movie, Columbus’ narrating different portions, but the start of the movie is where Columbus explains the basics of Surviving Zombieland 101.  Later, Columbus’ll meet up and begin traveling with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) only to be set upon by the dynamic duo of Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).  After all, if the zombies don’t get you, your fellow human survivors will, so be on the lookout!  It’s a fun movie where killing zombies is the mainstay of the day’s activities.   Bill Murray makes a cameoand does a nice job of rounding out some of the comedy throughout the movie.  If you’re a fan of Shawn of the Dead Zombieland‘s a must see.

It happened again.

It was a phenomenal movie.  Did Avatar deserve to win?  As they say in Fargo, ND, you betcha!  Three of nine’s not saying much.  Don’t get me wrong.  The Hurt Locker’s a great film – but, it’s not a phenomenal film.    I’ve seen them both, but I only saw Avatar four times, not The Hurt Locker. The Hurt Locker’s a once and done kind of film with a good story (though not a terribly accurate portrayal of BDU guys with a liberal amount of creative license involved.) and good characters and the right amount of tension.

Some folks have said Avatar‘s Pocahontas’ story skinned over a lovely cgi world.  While you can certainly see parallels, I think it was just great story telling on the part of James Cameron.  It was a straight-forward plot.  Jake would go native and save the Na’vi people.  From Jake running out of the exam room and flexing his toes in the Pandoran soil, to the leaping off the limb falling down through the forest, to the ride on the Banshees down the cliff face, James Cameron did an excellent job telling it.  Everyone who had a hand in that movie did a great job.

It’s a damn shame that Zoe Saldana didn’t get any Actress nomination from the Academy for Neytiri.  I thought she did a great job with the Na’vi accent, and all those facial expressions and body language Neytiri had.  In my opinion, good blue screen actors always get the short end of the stick when it comes to any of the awards societies.  Take for example, Naomi Watts didn’t get the nod for Best Actress nor Best Supporting Actress from the Academy in King Kong (2005) but it was her performance that sold those scenes, not the big monkey (note: per imdb.com, Naomi did pick up some awards from other lesser known awards societies, but no mention from the folks at the big Academy).  The big monkey was simply a part of the story and it was artfully done by the special effect cgi guys (who did get the Oscar awards).

94 million tickets sold and rising folks!

Balrogs, John! Balrogs!!1