Movie Night: Rogue One; A Star Wars Story.

rogueoneIMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3748528/

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis:  All looks lost for the Rebellion against the Empire as they learn of the existence of a new super weapon, the Death Star. Once a possible weakness in its construction is uncovered, the Rebel Alliance must set out on a desperate mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. The future of the entire galaxy now rests upon its success.

– Written by Ryan Cullmann

 

Review:  I know, I know. I’m about six months late with this review. Ah well . . .

I don’t think there’s a Star Wars fan out there that hasn’t seen Rogue One yet. At first I was unsure if I wanted to watch this movie. It wasn’t the sequel to The Force Awakens (which after that cliff-hanger, we can’t wait much longer), but I felt Disney did a pretty good job with that movie so I was willing to give it a go.

All I can say is wow. Rogue One is dark and gritty, reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back and reminds me a lot of that movie. Our heroes are out-numbered and narrowly escape death several times. It doesn’t have the swashbuckling feel of the series movies, but it’s full of enough action and adventure to please any die-hard fan. With new worlds and a glimpse back in time before the story line of Luke and the gang, there are some references that fans will pick up on. I’m not getting into the ending but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them again. Maybe?

 

5 out of 5

Movie Night: Fantastic Beast & Where to Find Them

fantastic-beasts-IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3183660/

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis:  The year is 1926 and Newt Scamander arrives in New York after a world-wide excursion looking for magical creatures. When several creatures escape from his suitcase, his journey becomes a lot more complicated than he wished, and ends up causing trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds. With the help of a No Maj, an ex-auror and her sister, Newt recovers the missing creatures and helps solve a series of bizarre and deadly magical occurrences that have been plaguing New York.

Review:  First off, let me say the tone of is movie is somewhat dark and deserves the PG-13 rating and was quite surprised by the tone and might be too scary for a younger audience; especially the final scenes.

Many reviews said the movie was slow, but I disagree. It wasn’t full of action the whole time but good story telling is a combination of both. I loved the special effects, and the magical creatures were fun as always. It would be nice if there was a sequel to this movie, picking up where this one ended and possible continuing with the hidden sub-plot (which doesn’t reveal itself until the end). Or perhaps that is what will happen? A second series in the magical world of J.K. Rowling?

Overall, if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter books, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Oh, and hats off to the set creator who fashioned the headquarters of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in DecoPunk!

 

4 out of 5

Movie Night: Collateral

Collateral_2004_movieIMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369339/

Rating: R

Synopsis:  A cab driver (Max) finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer (Vincent) as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles.

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Review: This movie was something I turned on for background noise while I wrote. I didn’t think I’d actually like it so I was pleasantly surprised. What kept my attention was the dialogue and interaction between the two main characters. Vincent might be a killer, but he has class. He’s clever; befriending one target right up until the moment he takes his life. Vincent understands killing is his job; this is what he chose to do. Max is a dreamer and has aspirations of being something more than just a cab driver, but never does anything but talk about it. Vincent berates Max several times about his lack of commitment to his dream, and it’s this alone that final prompts Max to take a stand against Vincent.

One thing I really appreciated with this movie; no extended final fight scene. I despise movies where the bad guy (whom everyone thinks is dead) makes one last ditch to kill the good guy. There were a couple things that bothered me, but nothing that really took anything away from the movie. Overall, it wasn’t all that bad.

 

4 out of 5

Movie Night: The Great Wall

the-great-wallIMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2034800/

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the greatest wonders of the world. As wave after wave of marauding beasts besiege the massive structure, his quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront the unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force. Written by Watch_Movies

Review: This movie caught my attention when I saw the trailer. It’s an interesting movie that keeps you not only entertained, but interested. The cinematography and location were incredibly beautiful with just the right amount of 3D effect. The plot moved along at a good pace and it was shorter than most movies of the same genre. It stayed in the ‘now’, and didn’t get muddled down with characters going on about their past or what brought them to the wall. Best of all, this movie had a strong male and female lead that DIDN’T FALL IN LOVE. Oh, there might have been an attraction, but it wasn’t a focal point in the movie. These people were at war, and the movie focused on that.

This movie does what it was meant to do; entertain and make you forget about the ugliness of the word for a few hours. The cinematography and costumes alone are worth it.

5 out of 5

 

 

Movie Night: The Godzilla Collection

I got a box set of Godzilla movies for Christmas and I had to share. This review will touch on all six movies in the box set. There are seven in the set, but two are the same movie; the second being the Western release with Raymond Burr. There’s an IMBd link for each movie, as well as a link to the Toho Kingdom site in case you would like to learn more about them. I’ve been a Godzilla fan since I was a little girl. I’ve seen just about every movie in this collection except for one, and it’s the last movie in the set. After watching the first three, I came to the conclusion that I must own all the Godzilla movies. This could be quite the feat as there are around 32 movies in the franchise. That includes the two made by Hollywood.

It is an honourable quest to be sure.

 

godzillaGojira

IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047034/

Toho Kingdom Link: http://www.tohokingdom.com/movies/godzilla_1954.htm

This is the original movie and the whole thing is subtitled. Released in 1954, it’s meant to be a warning about the dangers of atomic testing.  It was re-released in 1956 to the world as Gozilla; King of the Monsters, with Raymond Burr.

It’s nice to see that after all these years the movie and the franchise is still popular. Even with the corny acting, the set designs are incredible for special effects for the day. I can only imagine what the audience of the day must have thought while watching Tokyo set on fire. This is also (as far as I know) the first of the daikaiju (big monster) movies from Japan. It’s quite clear throughout the movie that the producers wanted to make a strong connection to the monster and man’s self-destructiveness, with several dialogue pieces hinting at a connection, but whether or not the monster represents the evil of the atom bomb  or man, I don’t know.

 

godzillaraidsagainGodzilla Raids Again!

IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048127

Toho Kingdom Link: http://www.tohokingdom.com/movies/godzilla_raids_again.htm

Billed as Gigantis, The Fire Monster for Western audiences, this second Godzilla movie introduces the ‘monster vs. monster’ theme that prevails in all future Godzilla movies. It’s not much on plot, and the translated dialogue is cringeworthy, but for the era and genre, it was popular. Trivia note; George Takei did several voices for the Western re-release. Husband and I picked up on his voice right away.

While the movie has the same tone as the first, much of the anti-atom/nuclear speeches are gone. Also, this Godzilla is referred to as the second and not the same creature that destroyed Tokyo. It was nice to see some characters from the first movie in the second, and they referenced the first movie as well; using footage of Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo as a newsreel. In the end, Godzilla defeats the second monster before returning to his home and being buried in an ice avalanche.

 

godzillavsthethingGodzilla Vs. Mothra

IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058379/

Toho Kingdom Link: http://www.tohokingdom.com/movies/mothra_vs_godzilla.htm

Billed as Godzilla vs. The Thing (again for Western audiences) this is the fourth Godzilla in the franchise, (the third being Godzilla Vs. King Kong) and again our hero is deemed ‘the bad guy’. It also focuses more on Mothra and the egg than on Godzilla with our hero receiving less screen time than the other movies. It also marks the first time Godzilla was defeated by another monster, showing that while he may be called ‘king’ he can still get his butt kicked. The only thing I found puzzling is was where Godzilla appeared from, as the last time I saw him he was buried under ice not sand. I did some research and found that the third movie answered that question.

Godzilla is coming into his own in this movie. He looks different from the original movie; now taking the shape of the creature we all love. This movie also shows that the monsters  aren’t bad and that they can help mankind, that is, when they’re not destroying cities in Japan.

 

Next month I will review the remaining three movies in the box set.

Movie Night: Central Intelligence

centralintelligenceTagline: Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson

IMBD Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1489889/

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Calvin Joyner was voted Most Likely To Succeed, but twenty years later, he’s an accountant in a mundane job. Worried about how people will perceive him at his upcoming high school reunion, he connects with an old classmate Robbie Weirdicht who goes by the name Bob Stone now. Calvin agrees to meet him and is surprised by how much Robbie/
Bob has changed. They become friends but Bob has a dangerous secret; he’s in trouble with the CIA and Calvin is torn between doing right by his new friend, or doing what’s right for the CIA.

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Review: I love Dwayne Johnson movies. He and Vin Diesel are my guilty pleasures.

Central Intelligence is a nice bit of foolery with some truly funny moments. It’s one of those movies that probably won’t be remembered for anything special – except maybe the ending at the school dance. It was more entertaining than I thought it would be, which was a surprise in itself. I kept waiting for Mr. Johnson’s character to become ‘ungoofy’, but I guess that is the way the character is meant to be.
Over all, a nice flick for a Saturday afternoon.

4 out of 5.

Movie Night: Dr. Strange

dr-strangeTagline: The impossibilities are endless.

IMBD Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1211837

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilising a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Written by Marvel

 

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Review:

One thing I will say for Marvel, they know how to do movies (excluding The Hulk. Please Marvel, don’t make any more Hulk movies), and Dr. Strange fits right in with the latest big budget adaptation of the comic.

One of the things I liked about this movie was the characters quick acceptance of the metaphysical world. There was no long, drawn out inner conflict of what he believes to be true, or brooding acceptance until something bad happens. Dr. Strange accepts almost immediately what is going on around him, allowing the story to move forward without being hung up on personal beliefs. Also, there is no romance; not with the ex-lover or the main female lead. There is a small spark, but that’s as far as it goes. Again, refreshing. Speaking of female lead, Tilda Swinton is incredible in this movie. Not once did her character succumb to the ‘I’m just a weak female who needs a man to fix this’ bullshit. Her character was strong in every sense of the word without being condescending when the truth about her was revealed.

This movie is a wonderful addition to the ongoing Marvel story arcs, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing more of Dr. Strange in the future (Ragnarok anyone?).

 

5 out of 5.

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