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I, Frankenstein is going to leave a scar

31 Jan

i-frankenstein

It’s alive! Well, it is happy to be breathing at this point because the newest interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic character has many noticeable imperfections that are going to leave a scar. At times, the film is entertaining, but then it falls into a familiar sounding story line, “There has been a war…” and basically the Frankenstein monster is going to have to choose a side because his soulless body has the potential to change the face of the conflict. The film is on life support because the acting, directing and story telling falls short of the magic Kevin Grevioux’s created in the Underworld franchise. Aaron Eckhart’s stick wielding becomes repetitive and Yvonne Strahovski’s character is asked to make unrealistic leaps in a short amount of time in order to push the story forward. It just doesn’t work. However, this is NOT the worst Frankenstein film I have seen and maybe Grevioux bring it back to life in a sequel.

WORD COUNT 160:
Chuck’s Grade: C-

Adam’s Grade: N/A

THOR: THE DARK WORLD hammers out an unsatisfactory ending

18 Jan

Thor-The-Dark-World

The sequel, Thor: The Dark World finds the title character tackling the all-to-common villain that wants to destroy the entire universe for some illogical reason that is never fully explained and never full thought out. However, it does not matter because Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane (Natalie Portman) are re-united for a meet the parents episode while Loki (Tom Hiddleson) broods in prison for his past offenses. Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) is a formidable arch-rival for both Thor and Odin who will ultimately need Loki’s help to confront Malekith. The film is entertaining and I prefer it over the original because the characters are able to delve deeper into their relationships with one another. However, like most Marvel products the ending does not do the rest of the film justice because it hammers out an unsatisfactory ending that cannot control the balance between action and comedy.

WORD COUNT: 147
Chuck’s Grade: B-
Adam’s Grade: N/A

I am glad I spent time with HER

16 Jan

HER-FILM

Spike Jonze’s latest film ‘Her’, set in the not-too-distant future, tells the story of writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who finds himself falling in love with Samantha, an advanced operating system (Scarlett Johansson), while he is dealing with a divorce from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara). The film emits warmth and intelligence with its exceptional production design, cinematography, and performances. There is a charming quality to Jonze’s dialogue with both of the characters being tormented by loneliness. Her does not shy away from topical subject material, such as modern society’s dependence on technology. If it has not happened yet, it will in the near future, unless people are to compartmentalize and measure technologies contribution to a better life. Phoenix tops his performance in The Master with this grounded performance while Johansson, captivates our senses with her sultry voice. Her reminds audiences to appreciate the moments with our loved one. I am glad I spent time with Her.

WORD COUNT: 156

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE heats things up

6 Jan

THE-HUNGER-GAMES-CATCHING-FIRE

I have not read the books, but everyone tells me the first film was water down when it came to the politics. As for the second film, the same people told me the second installment was closer to the book’s true intention. From an objective point of view, the politics come from  the same oppressive position found in most science fiction films. It was suggested in the first through an ideological state apparatus, whereas in the second film it manifests itself into a repressive state apparatus through military force and law enforcement, which makes it easier for audiences to identify. Both films were good, but the second film is entertaining because the antagonists’ intentions are blurred, making a more complex film for audiences to enjoy. Winning is not the only thing that is important in this film, which creates opportunities for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) to build and explore their characters’ darker side.

WORD COUNT: 158

Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: B

Upside Down stays in the middle

11 Oct

UPSIDE-DOWN-FILM

I loved the premise of the sci-fi film, Upside Down from writer/director Juan Diego Solanas, but the film gets stuck in a middle ground because it does not have an identifiable antagonist for the hero character, Adam(Jim Sturgess) to overcome. Instead, a predictable love story unfolds amongst a backdrop of amazing circumstances. His love interest Eden (Kirsten Dunst) is pleasant and their relationship is nice, but it seems insignificant compared to the dominating visual effectS. I think it was a valiant attempt at something great. The idea of two planets with opposing gravitational forces was exciting, even though I needed a quick science lesson at the beginning of the film to answer the obvious questions an audience would have after 15 minutes. However, the main story, like gravity pulls the film down.

WORD COUNT: 131

Chuck’s Grade: C+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Gravity is out of this world

7 Oct

GRAVITY-FILM

The most anticipated film for me this year was Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.” With his first film since the 2006 sci-fi drama “Children of Men,” Cuaron has broken new ground here, creating an experience unlike anything audiences have seen before. When a routine repair job on the Hubble telescope goes awry, a medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), and a mission commander, Lt. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), must work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.

Believe the hype, this is one of the most visually stunning films ever, with its groundbreaking CGI that features jaw-dropping single-shot sequences. Clocking in at 90 minutes, Cuaron wastes no time in moving the story along. Bullock ventures outside of her normal orbit of roles and gives an amazing performance while Clooney is great in his supporting role. This is masterful technical achievement with Cuaron, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and Visual-Effects Tim Webber creating a movie going experience worthy of Oscar consideration.

WORD COUNT: 159

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Oblivion is a mixed bag

22 Sep

OBLIVION-FILM

Oblivion is a mixed bag that is going to receive a mixed review from FastForwardFilmReviews.com. On the one hand, Adam found the film to be unoriginal and disappointing on many levels. His major criticism is the story and its predictable twists, as well as the under utilized characters, Malcolm Beach (Morgan Freeman) and Julia Rusakova (Olga Kurylenko). Anytime a film has to rely on flashbacks it is in trouble and Oblivion finds itself pressing rewind in many places. On the other hand, Chuck did not mind the story and doesn’t think it clones other films. Joseph Kosinski’s riffing on common sci-fi subjects is not a big deal. Oblivion is noticeably slow-moving and Chuck agrees with Adam about the supporting cast. However, he did not see the twist coming, which has him liking the film much more than Adam, although Chuck was disappointed with the final product. Both agree the visual effects are amazing and Claudio Miranda’s cinematography is gorgeous.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: B

Riddick grabs you by the throat…

13 Sep

RIDDICK-FILM

Riddick grabs you by the throat at the beginning of the film and squeezes hard. The special effects and the gritty survival story pulls everyone in right away, until the B-level supporting cast (bounty hunters) shows up and reminds audiences they are watching a sci-fi film closer in quality to Pitch Black than Chronicles. Diesel’s slow delivery and deliberate physicality demonstrates his box office appeal. He has not lost a step, although this version of the title character has an “in the gutter” sense humor that helps keep audiences entertained as he must kill man and beast over and over again. It does get a little repetitive at the end, but Riddick delivers on his promises. This movie does not advertise to be something it is not. Audiences get what they expected and most people leave satisfied and hoping for another film that will feature a climatic showdown between Riddick and Vaako (Karl Urban).

WORD COUNT: 154

Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The World’s End goes down like a good beer

26 Aug

AT-WORLDS-END

Fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz will enjoy the hilarious and heartfelt, The World’s End. It concludes the Cornetto Trilogy, which refers to the color and flavor of ice cream in the film. Obviously, very important stuff and I will have to get a triple scoop with each flavor because Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s third installment ends the trilogy on a high note.

Twenty years after a failed attempt of a pub crawl called the ‘Golden Mile’ – 12 pubs, 12 pints, Gary King (Pegg) drags his childhood friends along to complete the hedonistic task. Not even aliens will deter them from this great achievement.

I was impressed with the film’s ability to mix genres and still spend the time developing each of these characters. Unfortunately, I did feel overwhelmed at times with the story’s sci-fi/action sequences and ending, but with repeated viewings I am sure I will grow to appreciate it like a good beer.

WORD COUNT: 157

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Elysium is worth the trip

10 Aug

ELYSIUM-FILM

Elysium is Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up film to his sleeper hit District 9. Set in the year 2154, the wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium while the rest of humanity is stuck on Earth working and dying for crumbs. Max (Matt Damon) agrees to sabotage Elysium, but the Secretary Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster), and her key enforcer Kruger (Sharlto Colpey) stand in his way.

Blomkamp’s story can heavy-handed at times because this is non-fiction. The technology and special effects only enhance his metaphors about class, immigration, health care, and the environment. There is a balance, but your politics will impact your perspective and enjoyment of the film. Like District 9 it is difficult to separate the message from the entertainment. For the cast, Damon fits right in while Foster appears lost in space, however her executioner arm, Colpey is menacingly good. I look forward to Blomkamp’s next project. Despite its minor flaws and Jodie Foster, Elysium is still worth the trip.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: B-