Archive for category: Movies

“The Death of ‘Superman Lives’; What Happened?” Review

25 Jul
July 25, 2015

A Superman movie directed by Tim Burton, starring Nicholas Cage? I’ve been making jokes about that killed project for years! It seemed a bizarre concept at best! But now a documentary, years in the making, has dropped giving the full story of the dropped film from Tim Burton, the producers, writers and more.

It is fascinating.

I thought I would just watch for a few minutes; the thing is as long as the movie would have been if it had been made! But the longer I watched, the more captivating the story. Hearing Tim Burton describe his ideas and direction, listening to the producer (he’s OUT THERE), watching Kevin Smith and the later writers talk about their process and scripts submitted, I found myself really wishing I could have seen this thing. The only voice missing was Nicholas Cage, the actor cast to play Superman (what?!?). Even there I could begin to see it watching some of the test footage with him. There’s certainly no denying his love for the character.

Playing into the narrative was the reaction to people when Tim Burton was originally chosen to direct and reinvent Batman, as well as the choice to cast Michael Keaton. It did seem ludicrous at the time, and yet he completely changed the way comic book movies were approached from then on. And Michael Keaton? He was amazing in both his turns as Batman. Hearing Burton describe how he saw the character of Superman, I really began to buy in to it.

And the whole thing was killed after years of development only days before they were to begin filming.

The documentary is great. For comic book fans and superhero movie buffs, it is a GREAT look at an abandoned project still talked about years later.

In the end, I couldn’t believe they chose to risk the money on “Wild, Wild West” instead. I mean, seriously. We lost Nicholas Cage as Superman so we could have Will Smith playing a cowboy in a sci-fi western that flopped. Argh.

Star Trek: The Middle School Musical

25 May
May 25, 2013

Well, clearly that’s awesome.

I’ve been holding off on blogging my reactions to the new film to give people time to see it before I post spoilers … but fear not, my thoughts are on their way (whether you want them or not!).

Star Trek Into Darkness teaser trailer

06 Dec
December 6, 2012

Well, calling me excited for May 17th is an understatement! This thing literally gave me chills. Very, very excited!

And check out the bonus few seconds at the end of the Japanese version of the trailer … very similar to the ending of Wrath of Khan – is it an homage, something to fool us, or a hint at where this one is going?

Brace yourselves. I’m going to be amping up my nerd levels in the coming months.

Wreck-It Ralph

10 Nov
November 10, 2012

We took the boys to see Disney’s new movie, Wreck-It Ralph the other day and it was a big hit. Our boys, of course, loved it. It’s the story of a 30 year old video game in local arcade and it’s digital inhabitants. Ralph, the villain, is tired of being a bad guy and goes on a quest throughout the other arcade games to be the hero for a change, along the way making new friends and winning a different relationship with the characters in his own game.

For kids, it’s a huge win. There’s a good message about accepting yourself and not comparing to others, tons of video game action, new characters and more. As I was watching it I was surprised to realize there doesn’t seem to be a huge blitz of video games being released to cash in on it … that day is probably coming, though!

For me, it was a lot of fun. Loved seeing the retro style video game characters, seeing Q-bert and crew begging for spare change, and other systems I grew up loving. Definitely well written, fun for adults and kids. We’ll be getting this DVD when it comes out!

Avengers

28 May
May 28, 2012

Heather and I went to see Avengers Saturday night. Here are my thoughts …

  1. It was awesome.
  2. I thought they dragged out bringing them all together – after all, the post credit scenes had already done that in previous films.
  3. Heather thinks point number two is incorrect in that only nerds like me watch the post credit scenes and she didn’t know who most of them were so the beginning was useful for her.
  4. Hulk punching Thor. I about died laughing. I seriously didn’t hear the next few lines because it was so awesome.
  5. Hulk wrecking Loki. See point number four for the level of laughter I once again experienced.
  6. Is a flying aircraft carrier really effective? It just doesn’t seem practical.
  7. It was awesome enough to have two points referencing its awesomeinity. It’s a word.

And now I wait for The Amazing Spiderman.

Hunger Games | Back to the Future

07 Apr
April 7, 2012

When I was a freshman in high school the second Back to the Future movie hit theaters. I was beyond excited. I loved (and still do) the original film, and was PUMPED about the back to back sequels they had filmed – yes, decades before the Matrix sequels and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Back to the Future filmed parts two and three simultaneously and then released them six months apart. It was going to be epic.

Then my youth pastor ruined everything.

My dad was the associate pastor at the same church, and the two of them were friends. Anyway, Mark (my youth pastor) went to see Back to the Future II with one of the upper classmen and ended up walking out of the theater he was so offended by it. It was rated PG, but apparently deserved way worse according to him. He was furious over how ‘filthy’ it was. He railed to my dad about how it was ‘straight out of the pit of hell.’ The language, the sexual content, the violence. It was a raunchy, trashy, horrible film that would corrupt anyone who saw it.

So I wasn’t allowed to go.

Eventually I managed to see it, and I remember thinking something along the lines of, ‘it’s definitely worse than the first one, but it isn’t THAT bad.’ It just felt like he was making such a big deal over nothing. And besides, a few months later, we were all excited about something else anyway.

That memory is pretty much what has kept me biting my tongue as much as I can over the Hunger Games movie. I find the book and the film deeply concerning. Which is odd because I love stories in that futuristic end of the world scenario; if I can put my finger on it, I think it’s because unlike ‘The Book of Eli,’ ‘Mad Max,’ and other such stories, the Hunger Games was written for kids (in fact, they’ve been surprised by the adult following – they didn’t expect it). A decade ago people were shocked and concerned when J.K. Rowling killed a kid off for the first time in a Harry Potter book. Her body count increased with each book after that, but it doesn’t compare with the level of graphic violence contained in the Hunger Games trilogy – and it dramatically increases with each book. Should this be entertainment for kids?

The disconnect with our young people is who they identify with in the series; Katniss, Peeta, the victims of the over indulgent, wealthy, reality tv addicted dominant culture. Let’s be real. That’s not who our culture and our young people are – we are the villains in this series, but we’re blind to that. The rest of the world is starving while we feast on their labors. There is a strange disconnect where our young people lead a movement to punish Kony for forcing children to be soldiers while entertaining themselves with a story about forced child warfare. ‘It’s just fiction, McNutt. That’s the difference.’ But it doesn’t feel much different than the Roman Colosseum. Two thousand years ago society was entertained by people fighting to the death; today we do the same but with movies and TV. Does it matter if it’s ‘fake’? We celebrate the realism we can achieve and we love seeing it.

But when I say anything, I see the same expression looking back at me that I gave my old youth pastor. It feels like a wasted effort to point out concerns with series. And really, did all the freaking out over Harry Potter do any good years ago? It turns out we didn’t produce a generation of witches and wizards in spite of all the time spent on those books. The bigger goal is challenging young people to ask tough questions about the books and media they are consuming. To actually think about the messages, content, and where it fits (or doesn’t fit) with their faith. They have to learn to see that everything impacts their spiritual life, that there is not some sort of disconnect between Sunday morning at church and Friday night at the movie theater.

KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous

05 Apr
April 5, 2012

Invisible Children’s follow up video to their viral film, Kony 2012. They respond to some of the criticisms in it, as well as give more detail about the conflict in Africa and Kony.

As someone who has been to Uganda and met survivors, I don’t understand the controversy. Just as we wanted Bin Laden to pay for his crimes here long after 9/11, even once he was reduced to just living in hiding with a fraction of his original power, Africans want to see Kony pay for his decades of terrorism and the countless lives he has ruined and ended. The man is one of the most wanted in the world for a reason.

Contagion (movie review)

07 Feb
February 7, 2012

I just saw this the other day.

Now I’m afraid to go anywhere, touch anything, or even breathe in public. All of you need to stop touching your faces. Seriously. Just stop it.

The premise of the movie wasn’t original; the global population decimated by a new disease has been done before (loved it in 12 Monkeys). What made this different was the pacing, the editing style, and even the bent more towards documentary.

It was in some ways slow moving, yet quietly riveting. What was terrifying in it was the believability of the movie – it genuinely felt like it could happen. So in a subtle, yet powerful way, the film grabbed my attention.

Definitely worth checking out. Especially if you want to be afraid of contact with any other human being ever again.

I’m also not happy with pigs or bats, either.

In Time

02 Feb
February 2, 2012

In Time was kind of an odd movie for me. On the one hand, I mostly enjoyed it, but for the most part it all felt like too much of a stretch for me. Even the basic premise, that everyone has a clock on their arm with time ticking down to their death. If we’re advanced enough to halt the aging process at 25 years old, and then potentially live forever if we acquire enough time, wouldn’t it be done it a more subtle manor? Would it really be a giant, glow in the dark clock covering an entire forearm that then requires all of the characters to try and hide their clocks in various ways?

On top of that, with time being the currency instead of cash, it just seemed way too easy for people to steal and transfer it. If you doze off someone could just wipe out your clock? Would it really be set up to be that easy? It’s easier to protect our currency now than in this fictionalized future.

And finally, the whole relationship between Justin Timberlake’s character and Amanda Seyfried’s character felt like a stretch to me.

But other than all that, it was fun enough to keep me interested until the end. But one viewing was enough.

Real Steel

26 Jan
January 26, 2012

I’m gonna admit it. This movie caught me off guard. The only reason I watched it was because it’s science fiction and I like Hugh Jackman, but I really thought the whole premise was a joke. Basically the classic rock’em sock’em robots game, right?

Wrong.

The movie had a LOT of heart. It was basically Rocky (which I love, by the way – all six of ’em). Literally. The story line totally mirrored it, but in this futuristic world where humans control robot boxers that are able to battle it out to the brutal end in the ring. What caught me so off guard, even though I knew it had to go this way, was just how much it had my heart beating in the final moments of the film, and even finding myself emotional in a few moments.

Besides the whole Rocky thing going on with the robot, I also enjoyed the whole father/son story that played out between Hugh Jackman’s character and the child he had abandoned at birth who was now temporarily with him.

Cheesy? Maybe. But it was still surprisingly good. And probably one of the cleanest PG-13 films I’ve seen in a while. I would totally watch it again.