Archive for May, 2013

Iron Man 3

Posted by admin On May - 27 - 2013

Lethal Weapons: Tony Stark made a bold statement on drone protection, unfortunately it winced from committing to a resolution on Homeland protection with fireworks and a rainbow ending in Iron Man 3.

Having faced intergalactic terrorism that created incalculable casualties and leveled NYC, Iron Man 3 examined how the constant daily threat to the homeland has taken its toll on Tony Stark’s psyche as his nightmares have become reality and unless he can come up with an answer, he might find himself unprepared in coming face to face with newest threat to national security in the Mandarin. Directed by Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black, his third act served as a looking glass where the POV of Tony Stark and the love of his life Pepper Potts are juxtaposed with two different takes in the post 9/11 world. From Tony’s perspective, life can never go back to normal. The threat will always be there and so he will continue to build and build his drone weaponry in a bomb shelter under his Malibu home. From Pepper’s perspective, life went on uninterrupted, business as usual and the battle for NYC on TV was so polarizing the extraterrestrial attack might as well have taken place someplace in Bangladesh. Unfortunately for Pepper, Tony brought the threat home the minute he taunted The Mandarin, a shadowy fiend who has a knack for being one step ahead of the US military. Similar to Kiss, Kiss Bang Bang, director Shane Black expertly used the narrative to keep Tony Stark’s thoughts connected to the story as each subsequent event unfolded. As a result, Tony Stark became a more evolved, stronger complex character but unfortunately his armor did not make that transition. In the first two films, the arc reactor technology was what separated Tony from his competitors to turn suits of armor into the next weapon of mass destruction. Why did Tony move away from the technology that was so sought after? Why did he accept a replacement that had him running out of power constantly through out the movie. Why didn’t Tony utilize the Iron Army when his prototype armor malfunctioned as the siege on his house was being laid? Or when he needed to infiltrate the villain’s lair? How come Tony’s Bluetooth to Jarvis never ran out of power but his suits constantly malfunctioned? How come all of his suits show no variation in weaponry? How did one of the villains figure out how to pilot the Iron Patriot suit without all the passwords and more importantly how was it remote controlled without Tony or Rhodey’s input? Why does Extremis make human beings heat up and why can’t Tony remember he unlocked the genetic equation? As dynamic as the sets and stunt work were, the cost was creating quite a few plot holes that any Iron Man fan can point out without working up a sweat. That said, Iron Man 3 was a thrill ride with one too many plot twists but it’s not for comic book fans familiar with the Five Nightmares, Demon, and Extremis. For that reason, I must rate Iron Man 3, a lite beer that won’t hurt you to see but definitely won’t leave much of a lasting impression as the Summer Blockbusters continue to come off the assembly line.

Cheers,
Ron

 

 

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Posted by Greg Butler On May - 20 - 2013

GREAT MOMENTS IN HISTORY——– At the risk of losing my critic credential; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was an enjoyable quasi/ what if our fore father of emancipation was axe choppin’ blood suckers all the way to the Gettysburg address. Traumatized as a boy when mother Nancy is murdered by a vampire, he dedicates his life the to find the monster responsible.

A grown Abraham (Benjamin Walker) pursuing an unsuccessful vendetta  results in him being taught by a mysterious mentor Henry Sturges (Rufus Sewell), training/guiding Lincoln to the appropriate kills, which will lead to a revelation that will determine his destiny and country. Of course with that scenario, there is more things stirring under the stove top hat than what appears.  Fight sequences  are pumped non-stop with adrenaline,  followed by a climatic train sequence that is so outrageous and exciting, it actually puts present action flicks to shame.

The Movie is a romp, no more than the Abbott & Costello films was about their Universal monsters in the 40′s. The CGI is just as excessive as any Evil Resident franchise, but here unlike those, the approach is more goofy fun than hardcore serious. It strikes with just amount of camp in relation to the bloodletting violence.  Director  Tim Bekmambetov  with screenwriter Seth Grahame- Smith makes no excuses, Your here to enjoy the outlandishness, and to the subjects credit it gets my vote.

I give this two glasses of  Blanton’s original barrel with a light wheat beer.

Megan is Missing (2011)

Posted by Greg Butler On May - 13 - 2013

A self styled docu-drama detailing the horrors of cyber abduction and murder . Using found footage of taped dairies and news clips, the story chronicles the disappearances of  two young social outcasts being seduced by an internet stranger.  Although the movie’s heart is in the right place, the presentation of evidence becomes scripted as opposed to being in the moment. In one scene the directer  Micheal Goi makes the mistake of having a third video viewpoint shot by someone else, practically following the girls at a wild party. Trying to truncate both of the characters social and personal status in one event hurts the genuine approach to realism. Another problem are the extras or friends of Megan,  reused again in news interviews and other areas in the movie, not bad if it was situation television, but it becomes comic seeing the same people again.

The stalker in this piece skulks around like Micheal Myers from Halloween, He’s so good at being beyond visual range, you wonder if it’s  another in the long line of Criminal Minds episodes.

The final twenty minutes is grueling as we get the killer’s filmography of his crime, I’m really not sure what to take from this, admittedly there elements of truth based on actual cases, but it comes off phony and a bit gratuitous here.

I give this two  house whiskeys,  at best average.

Island of lost souls (1932)

Posted by Greg Butler On May - 6 - 2013

 

 

In terms of black and white horror films, few come close to the visceral impact  it had in its time and still  does today. The story starts off simply, Edward (Richard Arlen) is a survivor of a ship accident  only to be picked up and stranded on a island resided by Doctor Moreau (Charles laughton). He soon learns that the good doctor has been genetically transforming animals into advanced human beings. The results as with all crazy experiments, is less than successful. The rejects are banished to a secluded side of the island to fend for themselves. To maintain a sense of order, Moreau cracks the whip (literally)commanding a repeated mantra of his demands “What is the law?!”) reminding them of the place they were borne from; “the house of pain”). In a later sequence we see an example of this as a hybrid strapped to an operation table, howls in anguish as the doctor coldly dismisses his agony as another clinical  failure.

Bela Lugosi (before Tod Brownings, Dracula) is the village sayer of the tribe, oddly not knowing enough English off screen,   the phonetic dialogue comes off  extremely alien and effective on screen.

Laughton is definitely  the treat here. Imposing in his white seersucker Congo suit, he is the epitome of what mad scientists should strive for.  Another staged entry is the heroine (Lelia Hyams) introduction. At a shipping port, she is relieved to find her husband alive via a posted notice. She walks away relieved and gratified, as the busy activities on the street divide in front, It’s serenely graceful, a prelude of terrors to come.

Jack Pierce the make up artist must be especially noted. The Rick baker , Rob  Bottin and Dick Smith of his day. The FX  applied to the creatures are restrained, something later remakes would over indulge. It wasn’t  about what the beasts were or becoming, but the results that went awry in  between.

Director  Erle Kenton ratchets up the atmosphere  with dread  before going full throttle at the memorable  end.

I give this your best  four shot Russian vodka  with a smooth wheat beer as a chaser.

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Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief

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