Archive for the ‘Science Fiction and Space Shit’ Category

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Monday, November 25th, 2013

tn_catchingfire(I’m trying to mark the biggest spoilers as usual, but be careful with this one if you don’t want anything given away)

You remember back when THE HUNGER GAMES came out I avoided it. I know this makes me a weirdo, but it wasn’t until Francis Lawrence signed on to direct the sequels that I got interested. The conventional wisdom was that part 1’s Gary Ross (PLEASANTVILLE, SEABISCUIT) was a classy director and this was a step down to replace him with the guy who did CONSTANTINE and I AM LEGEND. But I’m a fan of Mr. Lawrence, I see some genius behind the admittedly large flaws of those movies. As pretty good as THE HUNGER GAMES is I’m way more impressed by Lawrence’s depiction of post-human-New-York-City and Will Smith’s performance as the lonely omega-scientist. Yeah, we all know that there are some problems when the vampires turn out to be leaping computer animated beasts, but shit, they’re better than the animated dogs in HUNGER GAMES. Scarier and with more personality and meaning. Let’s not pretend either of these is flawless, but I know which one I like better.

Now Lawrence’s first HUNGER GAMES chapter has hit, and virtually ever review I’ve seen says what I predicted, that he made a better movie than the first one. See you guys, I know shit.

(read the rest of this shit…)

The Hunger Games

Monday, November 11th, 2013

tn_hungergamesOkay, I admit it. I kinda liked THE HUNGER GAMES. I was real turned off by all the pre-release hoopla, the reporting of every miniscule detail of casting and filming, for a movie from an only okay director (sorry, Pleasantvillamaniacs) based on a book written for kids and too recent for any of the reporters to have grown up on it and have a personal connection to it. It seemed pretty transparent to me that publicists had convinced everybody that this was gonna be the next TWILIGHT, and they were running scared trying to learn the lingo and the character names to show they knew all about this. Hey man I’ll suck your dick for a hit.

Okay that last sentence was harsh but I wrote it down in my notebook and it’s too late to back out now, it’s part of the historical record. I still feel that way but also I gotta admit I was wrong when I predicted nobody would like the movie that much and it would be quickly forgotten. Then they hired a director I kinda like (I AM LEGEND’s Francis Lawrence) for parts 2-3 so I figured it was time to shut up and listen to all the cool uncles of the internet and try this out. Also I was kind of into Jennifer Lawrence after SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. Sorry. But I watched it with an open-minded and I mostly enjoyed it. (read the rest of this shit…)

After Earth

Friday, October 18th, 2013

tn_afterearthor JUST THE TWO OF US: THE MOVIE

When I kept seeing the trailer last summer, AFTER EARTH didn’t look so hot to me. It’s hard to have hopes for an M. Night Shyamalan joint these days, and also it got absolutely terrible reviews. I mean, it has an 11% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes – that’s lower than ALEX CROSS, R.I.P.D., THE SMURFS 2 or the joyfully pre-hated Paul Schrader/Lindsay Lohan collaboration THE CANYONS. But you know me, I watched it anyway and I’m not unhappy to tell you that it’s not bad.

Jaden “KARATE” KID Smith stars as Kitai, a talented young cadet in some futuristic military outfit, trying to make ranger, but he fails because he’s Too Reckless In the Field. There’s alot of pressure on him because his dad (played by real life dad Will Smith) is the Big Willy of the future, the warrior who saved the human race from giant alien bugs called ursas. This happened after humans polluted earth so bad they had to colonize a place called Nova Prime, then some other aliens invaded using the ursas as attack dogs. Ursas are blind but they can smell pheremones, and dad can chop them up completely unsmelled because he has no fear. This technique, Kitai explains in narration, is called “ghosting.” The only thing we have to not ghost is not ghosting itself.

So his dad is awesome, but I’m not gonna say what his name is because then you’ll never believe me that this is a decent movie. Okay, his name is Cypher Raige. But seriously guys. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback the Final Chapter: Prometheus

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

tn_prometheus

2012
2012

This is the third time I’ve seen PROMETHEUS. I saw it twice in the theater. It’s one of the most divisive movies in the history of outlawvern.com comments, and I wanted to see how it played after sleeping on it for a while. I still like it and think that its great filmatism overcomes its underlying stupidity. But I’ve got a few new thoughts on it.

We’ve discussed alot of unscientific things these scientists on the Prometheus do, but one I don’t remember thinking about before is that they’re totally jumping to this conclusion that humans were engineered. All they’re going on is the “DNA match,” that “their genetic material predates ours,”  but doesn’t that seem more like we evolved from them than they purposely created us? I guess they’re going on the cave paintings, which they assume were made by the Engineers and did in fact lead them to this planet. But I don’t know, I don’t feel like this Engineer theory has been adequately proven. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

tn_rotpotaB

2011
2011

I like doing these re-reviews. Alot of times I feel differently about a movie as I get older, or I notice new things after seeing it more than once, or I benefit from being removed from the context of the hype and the reactions I’d been hearing when it came out. But it’s a challenge too because it’s so easy to be redundant. More than once I wrote a draft of one of these and then read my old review and found out I unknowingly repeated an idea or even an exact phrase. Shit. Like I was doing I, ROBOT and I was real proud of this joke where I rewrote the 3 Laws of Robotics in my own way. Then it turned out I already did that years ago.

And as the gap narrows here at the end of the series it’s getting pretty ridiculous. This was only 2 years ago, and I haven’t gone off to live a quiet life in a monastery and stick fight in a remote village or anything like that. A man can only gain so much wisdom in that period of time, so my views haven’t really changed on the movie of THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES of the starring James Franco. It’s still a very enjoyable dumb man’s thinking man’s sci-fi. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Cowboys & Aliens

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

tn_cowboysandaliens

2011
2011

COWBOYS AND/OR ALIENS starts out great. Daniel Craig wakes up with an apparent gunshot wound and a weird metal device locked to his wrist. He doesn’t remember who he is or what the fuck happened. He does remember how to fight, though, so when some guys try to rob him he kicks their asses, steals their clothes TERMINATOR style and heads into town. (And all this without talking.)

Other than that metal thing it plays as a straight western for a while. Paul Dano is a crazy asshole who terrorizes the town, shooting his guns off and demeaning innocent people because his dad (Harrison Ford) is the cattle baron and he thinks he can get away with anything. But when he picks out Craig, a random bystander, to flip some shit at, he finds himself crashing nose-first against a wall of badass. This stranger doesn’t know who the little shit is and can’t pretend to be scared of him, so he knocks him on his ass. In the scuffle the kid accidentally shoots a deputy, a crime the sheriff can’t overlook despite who his daddy is, so they both get arrested, to be transferred to federal custody the next day.
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Summer Movie Flashback: Inception

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

tn_inception

2010
2010

The best way to explain the genius of INCEPTION is just to describe what’s going on at the climax. The main characters are all asleep on a jet, dreaming that they’re in a van that’s crashed and is falling off a bridge. All but the driver, Dileep Rao, are asleep and are also in a dream-within-a-dream where they’re tied together floating weightlessly in an elevator. Joseph Gordon Levitt is preparing to wake them up, the rest are asleep and in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream about blowing up a snowy fortress. But Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page are asleep there because they’re actually in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream where Leo is making the emotional decision to leave behind a SOLARIS-type living memory of his dead wife Marion Cotillard to go into a limbo to rescue his client, Ken Watanabe, who has lived a whole life there and is now an old man and forgets that he’s not in reality, because time passes at a different pace within each of these worlds. And there is a decades long slowed down music cue that tells Leo the van in the first dream is about to hit the water and wake them all up.

And here’s the kicker: all of this was understandable even on the first viewing for knuckleheads like me and the millions of people who made it a huge hit summer movie. I mean, you don’t have to like it, but it takes a silly motherfucker to deny the accomplishment of making such an effective mainstream thriller out of a concept this complicated. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Terminator Salvation

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

tn_terminatorsalvation

2010
2009

If I had turned off TERMINATOR SALVATION about 2/3 in I would’ve come to you and made a case for it being underappreciated. I mean, I think it is, it doesn’t deserve the worldwide wholesale rejection and scorn it gets. But it has such a crippling case of T.A.P.s (third act problems) that it’s hard to be excited about it after you get to the end.

But let’s talk about what’s good in it, because there’s plenty of it, and nobody ever talks about that. First of all, a good cast. John Avatar himself, Sam Worthington, plays the anti-hero Marcus, a death row inmate (we don’t actually know exactly how Riddick he is – “My brother and two cops are dead because of me” is the only explanation of his crimes) who gets the lethal injection and then wakes up in a post-apocalyptic battle between man and machine. On one hand, hey, I’m alive, and I’m free! On the other hand… (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

tn_xfiles

2008
2008

I was a casual X-Files-viewing type of individual. I watched it sometimes, but not all the way until the wheels fell off. I mostly liked the funny episodes like the vampires one with Luke Wilson (written by the guy that later did HOME FRIES and Breaking Bad) or the one where the guy describes the men in black as looking like Alex Trebek and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and then that’s who plays them in the episode. I also liked the whole ongoing story about the aliens and the black oil and shit to a point, but I mean I can only keep track of so much, fellas. I lost interest. So I kinda liked the idea of a smaller, more standalone horror movie with the X-Filesers in it, but since nobody ever claimed I WANT TO BELIEVE was any good I didn’t get around to watching it until now.

I never saw the end of the show, but it looks like Mulder and Scully both quit the FBI, and now they live together, though I don’t think anybody knows Mulder is there. Scully is a big time doctor at a Catholic hospital, Mulder is a shaggy beardo who stays in his room surrounded by news clippings and does… I don’t know. Desk work? Maybe he’s a private monster investigator, or working on a novel, or doing a video game review websight or something. Or scrapbooking maybe is what he’s into, it probly said but I missed it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Riddick

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

tn_riddickThe first time we see Riddick in his new movie RIDDICK he’s buried under rocks, okie noodling a dumbass flying space lizard that mistakes him for a corpse. He’s been left for dead on the planet “not Furya” by the Necromongers from CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, just like the planet earth tried to leave the Riddick series for dead after they found out it was the type of movies that had bad guys called the Necromongers. But as he’s demonstrated before, Riddick and his series are survivors. (Don’t get him started about it though, he’ll narrate your ear off.)

Ever since CHRONICLES in 2004 some of us have wanted to see that sequel set up at the end, where (NINE YEAR OLD SPOILER) Riddick has accidentally become the king of the aforementioned death-worshipping, statue-shaped-spaceship-flying warrior race. This is not exactly that sequel. We just find out through some awkward narration and a brief Karl Urban cameo that they got rid of Riddick by pretending they’d bring him to his birth planet and then bringing him to a different planet and breaking off a cliff that he’s standing on. Ha ha! Riddick fell for a Wile E. Coyote.

The last third of this movie is a pretty fun, mildy anti-climactic rehash of PITCH BLACK – Riddick and mercenaries declare an unwieldy truce and earn each others’ begrudging respect while fighting CGI alien monsters on a dark rainy dirt planet. But the first 2/3 is easily the best of the series so far.
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