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Pacific Rim is a monstrous mess

28 Jul


Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is finally back behind the camera in the enormously disappointing Pacific Rim. Giant monsters versus Giant humanoid robots. There really isn’t that more to tell as far as the story is concerned. It lacks emotion, humor and character development. I love Idris Elba (Stacker), but he is out of his element, along with Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh) and Rinko Kikuchi (Mako).  They are forced into relationships that don’t work and a rivalry that comes out of nowhere. The only thing that saves this film from becoming one of the summer’s worst is the astounding visual effects and the cinematography. I wanted to like Pacific Rim, but it is a monstrous mess.


Adam’s Grade: C

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Source Code is a cryptic thriller

2 Jun


Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a U.S. Army Chopper pilot who wakes up in the body of another man, in order to figure out the identity of a train bomber. The film wastes no time with the action and the sci-fi technology is advanced enough to intrigue audiences to pay close attention.

Director Duncan Jones has tackled science fiction successfully before with his debut film Moon. He may become known for his ability to play mind games with people because Source Code is cryptic thriller that keeps audiences entertained like a good game of Sudoko . The script mixes elements of Quantum Leap, 12 Monkeys, and Groundhog Day together, but there is an original element because of Gyllenhaal performance and Jones’ direction. Source Code is a smart thriller that will keep you guessing until the end.


Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Iron Man (2008) is more American than Captain America himself

5 May


The first installment of the Iron Man trilogy is the best of the Marvel Comic movies.  Director John Favreau uses the most successful ingredients of a Hollywood big budget action film and allows Robert Downey Jr.’s talent to command the attention.  Favreau does most of the exposition before the opening credit are over, which allows him to start the film off on a high note and never look back with a brisk pace that mixes humor, action, and romance together seamlessly. Downey Jr. portrayal of Tony Stark has audiences loving him by the time he mentions the Playboy twins and his note-worthy character flaws are not made into a life-threatening crisis like so many other films in this genre. His fun first, and serious second demeanor in his personal and professional life creates an identity that makes him more American than Captain America himself. Stark Industries and Marvel Cinematic Movies have a promising future with this stylish suit of armor.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: B+

Assault Girls scores points, but not enough

7 Apr


Writer and director Mamoru Oshii creates a different type of science fiction film that I think is still in its infancy phase, but may become a more successful entertainment in the future. Films depicting video game sequences. I understand there are many video game inspired movies, but Oshii’s film is different. The plot is about four characters who appear only in their avatars’ form. They are attempting to get to the game’s next stage. We are never introduced to the real people playing  and the characters’ deaths are only virtual and can be re-upped at will. The film follows three gorgeous and strong female avatars and a lone male trying to defeat a giant sandwhale. Although, the film scores many points for style, it lacks the substance to transcend the story to another level. After the film ended, I felt like I was part of the game, but wish I hadn’t played because I had more important things to do.

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Dark City is out of this world

31 Mar


In 1998, I remember Roger Ebert exclaiming to Gene Siskel that Dark City was one of the best films he had ever seen ever. I was more shocked than Siskel when Roger gave such a definitive statement. My interest was aroused and I immediately sought out this neo-noir sci-fi film mentioned in the same breath as Metropolis. Since then, I have probably watched Dark City twenty times and still have not grown tired of this stylistic thriller, even though I know the film’s juicy secret it continues to entertain my imagination. Rarely, do films have this affect on me, but director Alex Proyas creates the right balance of style and substance that keeps the film interesting and something I would recommend to others. Rufus Sewell’s unfamiliar face helps Dark City keep its authenticity while Hurt, Sutherland, and Connelly provide credence. There are many memorable moments, but the Strangers and their purpose for being there is what pulls audiences into their world.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: B