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Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi’

Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1, the Rebels Strike Back (Film Review)

November 20th, 2014 No comments

Mocking J  POSTER a

 

Review by John Delia

It’s time for the rebellion to start and in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 the volatile story of Katniss Everdeen continues with able direction, adequate acting, but with the usual predictable storyline. The filming and CGI gets better than the last installment showing explosive battles that are more realistic looking than the games in Catching Fire. Characters are added and the rebel skirmishes become intense with Director Francis Lawrence cutting the film at a fairly reasonable intermission point. But most of the fan based audience will walk away empty with little more than a taste of what they hope will come in the finale. Read more…

“Lucy” A Non-stop Action-thriller (Film Review)

July 25th, 2014 No comments

POSTER lucy

 

Review by John Delia

Out of nowhere comes Lucy a wild ride of mind over matter from Writer/Director Luc Besson. This cunning thriller opens with excitement and never stops the action to the very end. It’s my idea of a true Sci-Fi thriller that tantalizes your brain with possibilities beyond belief, and then takes you even further with the question, What If?

The film poses the following premise: “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what you could do with 100%”. Read more…

“X-Men” A Wild Ride from Future to Past (Film Review)

May 23rd, 2014 No comments

X-MEN poster 1ANOTHER

MUST SEE

EPISODE

Review by John Delia

Exciting and action packed, X-Men: Days of Future Past takes center stage for a weekend box office blow-out.  The monstrous blockbuster should take Marvel Comic fans by storm with a relentless rollercoaster ride into yesteryears and back to the future using most every mutant in the graphic novels. The CGI factor is at a WOW level and the compelling storyline puts it on a level with Thor: The Dark World and Amazing Spider-Man 2. You don’t have to be an X-Men aficionado, but it helps. Read more…

After Earth, Targets Teens in a Sci-Fi Thriller (Film Review)

May 30th, 2013 No comments

afterPOSTERReview by John Delia

Taking a chance on another science fiction thriller M. Night Shyamalan probes disaster with After Earth.  The trick here is can he rise above his box-office misses like The Last Airbender and Lady in the Water. His The Sixth Sense has never been equaled and for that he still has a following.  Here, Shyamalan gets smart and brings in a top star and his son to do his bidding and comes up a winner. While it’s not the best space adventure in the past two years, it certainly gets high marks for its teen target audience. Read more…

Oblivion, A Visual Thriller (Film Review)

April 20th, 2013 No comments

oblivion POST

Review by John Delia

The opening sequence in the movie Oblivion is spectacular showing Earth as a devastated planet and the moon busting apart following an attack by an alien invasion. Well acted by a handful of cast members, the action movie mesmerizes as it spools out its grand design.  Both the cinematography and computer graphics are the stars of the film with the quality of the 2009 Star Trek. If you are a rabid fan of science fiction then you should get in line for your ticket now. Read more…

Cloud Atlas, Film Review by John Delia

October 26th, 2012 No comments

A

SCIENCE FICTION

BRAIN

FREEZER

CLOUD ATLAS

Review by John Delia

Tedious comes to mind after watching this tale of fantasy that spans six time periods within five centuries played out in nearly 3 hours.  Cloud Atlas, although an admirable piece of movie making tends to be so complex that viewers I’m afraid, will just not get it.  It’s a brain teaser of sorts, one that challenges an audience to connect the dots between repetitive periods of time for a final resolve.

Breathtaking cinematography, fine acting and amazing make-up are the benefits from the movie, but the storyline gets so complicated it becomes ‘work’ instead of entertainment.  Most audiences want to see stories play out to an understandable realistic manor. Here, with six stories going at one time, the chore of working out the meaning of it all in one’s mind takes away from its intended entertainment value.

The story goes like this: Cloud Atlas spools out in six parables hopping from one to the other throughout the movie each segment portraying a theme quoted from Sonmi -451 in the year 2144, “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.”  The story proceeds with short tableaus revisited throughout the movie.  The first involves a slave ship in the South Seas making its way to a colonial port in the year 1849. The second jumps to 1936 Scotland and involves a musician that has a brilliant ear for music and who scribes the notes for a capricious composer. In 1973 we find Luisa Rey a young reporter stumbling upon a lead involving a nuclear reactor. In 2012 Scotland we find a newspaper publisher being victimized so he won’t publish Luisa Rey’s story.  From here we take a big leap to 2144 Korea where the clone Sonmi -451 moves about tending her master in a obedient manner and at the final level of the film we see into the 24th century where the world has been devastated and people are living a simple primitive life in squalor trying to exist while being threatened by a warring tribe.

If you don’t try to see the connection between each of the segments, you may get more enjoyment out of the film. Some of the segments stand out like the 1849 slave ship sequence where we find a crafty Dr. Goose (Tom Hanks), who poisons passengers in order to steal their possessions.  In this tableau actor Jim Sturgess plays Adam an unsuspecting young man who comes under the doctor’s care after catching a malady aboard ship. Being slowly put to death with the doctors ‘medicine’, his only salvation comes from a slave whose life he had saved.  Adding some comedy to the film we find Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) a publisher who gets put in a reclusive and guarded nursing home by a devious scoundrel who doesn’t want him to put a revealing story about a nuclear reactor in print.  The segment reminded me somewhat of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest being jovial enough to take the edge off the other dramatic pieces.

Hugh Grant as Kona Chief in Cloud Atlas

The fantasy yarn involves Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae) a clone in 21st Century Korea who looks after her owner while wearing a metallic electronic neck brace that keeps her captive.  Embedded in her neck is an explosive charge that would blow apart her carotid artery rendering instant death at the push of a button. Subservient like the rest of her fellow clones, she goes about her business of pleasing and toiling.  When her friend goes off the deep end and allows her neck device to kill her, Sonmi-451 starts looking for an escape. This action sequence ups the value of the movie with its creative cinematography, CGI and special effects making it the best of the six sequences.  With more storyline, creative direction and continuous strong character development, this segment could be a standalone film.

The make-up department provides many surprises creating a bevy of characters from each of the main actors. Tom Hanks acts out a character in each of the six segments, from a Nuclear Physicist to the primitive Zachry of the 24th Century. In some cases, especially that of Dr. Goose, Hanks has been completely disguised. Other amazing transformations include Halle Barry as Jocasta Ayrs a white woman and as Ovid in 2144 Korea she plays a man.

Cloud Atlas has been rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use. There are also scenes of brutality, discrimination and gore that should be noted.  The film would be better served on video whereby the viewer can run the movie again, rewind and pause so as to digest the film as a whole.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The complexity of the film impairs its entertainment value. (C-)

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, and Keith David
  • Directed by: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski
  • MPAA Rating: for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.
  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 52 min
  • Opening Date: October 26, 2012
  • Distributed by: Warner Brothers

 

Looper, Film Review by John Delia

September 28th, 2012 No comments

A

CREATIVE

ACTION

THRILLER

LOOPER

By John Delia

The future and the past collide in Looper, a creative action thriller directed by Rian Johnson.  This clever crime drama takes the audience to another level with a captivating enigma that holds your interest to the very last dialogue. The film hits the target male audience right on the box-office trigger looking for high rewards.

It’s the year 2044 and the young adult Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has the nasty but lucrative job called looping a special kind of hit man for a crime syndicate.  It’s no ordinary mob profession of getting an assignment from the boss, searching out the victim, eliminating him and stealthily walking away in the night.  As long as you have the mentality for it, looping turns out to be a fairly easy occupation as Joe never has to see the face of his victims. Using a specially devised blunder-bust shotgun, one shot to the body of a bound and hooded man on his knees, a short ride to a furnace for disposal and call it a day.  Even better, the victim cannot be traced because he has been transported 30 years back from the future for extermination. Payment for a day’s work, several bars of silver worth millions in future value.

Things have gotten bad for the mobsters in the future and their leader The Rainmaker has decided to shut down looping operations.  But because the loopers who are now 30 years older in the future know too much, he wants to eliminate them.  Not known to the present day loopers, some of them have been assigned to kill their older selves.  When Joe’s number comes up to kill his future self (Bruce Willis) things take an unexpected turn putting Joe and his future in mortal danger.

The brilliance here comes with the script, a futuristic quandary with a number of consequences that could alter the future like a pebble thrown into a pond that causes a ripple of change. With older Joe we find that his older self has a mission to do just that and this is where the story takes on a different look.  Intriguing and involving the science fiction film gets played out to a clever explosive finale.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Paul Dano with director Rian Johnson on the set of Looper

Creating good characters takes a lot of control over a cast especially this one with high profile actors like Willis, Emily Blunt and Gordon Levitt, but director Rian Johnson does a great job of maintaining a tight ship.  Keeping the extensive action moving at a fast clip and making his actors work hard certainly shows on the screen.  I like the chemistry between Paul Dano and Gordon-Levitt as they really look like good friends that would do anything to help each other out, even if it means death.  I would have enjoyed a little more character history between the two, but it would have prolonged the nicely written film.

Since young Joe and older Joe ‘have’ to look similar, the make-up crew takes on a very big challenge of changing Gordon-Levitt to look like Willis at 30 years difference.  Mostly altering his lips, cheeks, nose, and putting a Bruce Willis cleft in the chin, the crew did a very worthy job.  Even in one scene where Gordon-Levitt gets his ear torn, you’ll find his older self has the scars. While I feel this is more distracting than necessary, I have to applaud Johnson for a ‘nice try’ with continuity.  I don’t know what the extra make-up may have cost, but they could have just kept it to a minimum like other films I’ve seen. After all, I think most of the audiences that will see Looper won’t care one way or the other about facial features, since they’ll be mostly adrenaline seekers anyway.  (While they were at it however, they should have raised Willis’s neck up a couple of inches.)

Although you have to wait nearly half way through the movie to see her, Emily Blunt plays Sara as a tough gal who lives a secluded life with her special abilities son Cid (Pierce Gagnon).  Strong and ornery, Sara won’t put up with intruders and finds herself being overly protective of Cid. When young Joe finds himself on the run from certain death and gets an important clue to older Joe’s mission, he searches out Emily to hide him.  The two actors are nicely matched and create a realistic romantic bond adding to the complexity to the story.

Looper has been rated R by the MPAA for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content. The violent death sentences are quite vile so be prepared when the executions begin.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A creative futuristic action thriller with some nice twists. (B)

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels
  • Directed by: Rian Johnson
  • MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content.
  • Genre: Action Thriller
  • Running Time: 1 hr 58 min
  • Opening Date: September 28, 2012
  • Distributed by: TriStar Pictures

 

Battleship, review by John Delia

May 17th, 2012 No comments

AN

EXCITING

ACTION

THRILLER

BATTLESHIP

Review by John Delia

BATTLESHIP

Who’d ever think they could make a film from a kids Hasbro board game and come up a winner.  With Battleship they did just that and it’s more action, thrills, amazing special effects than I had ever imagined possible.  If you like alien invasion movies with cool spaceships, scary spacemen, saw bladed war drones and explosive rocket pegs then get ready for extreme fun watching Battleship.   Read more…

LOCKOUT, Review by John Delia

April 12th, 2012 No comments

A

SCI-FI

ACTION

THRILLER

 

LOCKOUT

Reviewed by John Delia

With a mixture of tongue in cheek comedy and sci-fi action Lockout does an average job of entertaining male teens through adults.  The fast paced film reminds me however, of Escape From New York another futuristic film that features some very mean characters and a lot of brutality. Lockout features some very mean looking characters so it’s hard to recommend it to the ladies. Read more…

THE HUNGER GAMES, Film Review by John Delia

March 21st, 2012 No comments

HIGH LEVEL

TEEN THRILLER

A TASTY

TREAT

THE HUNGER GAMES

By John Delia

 

The countdown has ended and The Hunger Games plays on screens all over the world.  The film that has had more Twitter, Facebook and other social networking than any other film released in America now gets tested at the box office.  But, do I think the film provides enough of the right stuff that will make it a winner?  Well hell YES!   Read more…