Posts tagged "Tars sells out!"

Godzilla – 2014 (Review)

Godzilla

Godzilla 2014
2014
Story by Dave Callaham
Screenplay by Max Borenstein
Directed by Gareth Edwards

March of Godzilla 2014
Godzilla 2014
We were all a little apprehensive when we learned that there would be a second American Godzilla movie. After all, once bitten, twice shy. And while the memories of Matthew Broderick battling a preggers dinosaur that loves fish while things go all Jurassic Park are scarred in memories forever, Gareth Edwards brought American Godzilla movies full circle into actually good. Godzilla is big, fights monsters, has atomic breath, isn’t taken out like a punk, and becomes a realized character despite being a CGI construct. He’s the real deal. Just saying that makes me so happy I had to recalibrate my breakdown of the film because it does have its flaws. Nothing that we haven’t seen before in major tentpole films, but I’m not above pointing them out again and again.

I had my problems with Gareth Edwards, I found Monsters interesting when it had anything to do with monsters, and not when it had anything to do with people. Edwards brings his monster affinity to full load with Godzilla, the monsters are just so huge, so out of scale, that people are just running around trying to survive beneath their feet. The sheer enormity is a stark contrast to how helpless everyone is when the creatures are around.
Godzilla 2014
Edwards trades two hours of monster destruction porn for an array of different effects of the destruction, from news clips to destructive aftermaths to monsters fighting it out in the background while humans run for their lives. But there is plenty of fighting going on during the climactic scenes set in San Francisco. They play tribute to the monster fights of old, but allow at CGI Godzilla to do a few moves that wouldn’t quite work with people in suits. Overall, the fight sequences are fun, but the meat of the monster appearances are just showing them so huge and destructive, and the people struggling to survive. The sequences with the monsters on rampage become a mix of giant monster, horror, and nature run amok all rolled up into one, and pulled off perfectly.

Gareth Edwards still has problems making interesting people, but he’s compensated by using incredibly awesome actors who turn those people interesting despite what they are given. Bryan Cranston is amazing as the obsessive dad who jumbles from one tragedy to another. Aaron Taylor-Johnson had good chemistry with Elizabeth Olsen (which will be important as they’re siblings in Avengers 2!), but when by himself just became a less charming Channing Tatum. Moments like when he was suddenly guarding a shoehorned in random Japanese kid gave him more depth than all his running around while covered in dirt scenes combined.

Godzilla here is part of a large conspiracy to cover up that there are large monsters in the world, and he’s the apex predator. The problem is when the other ones start popping up, because they begin destroying cities and causing all sorts of destruction. Things can no longer be hidden away, and soon Godzilla leaves his Pacific Atoll to destroy these new idiots. No one challenges the king.
Godzilla 2014
Read more…

2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 13, 2014 at 1:34 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Lego Movie (Review)

The Lego Movie

Lego Movie
2014
Story by Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Screenplay by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Lego Movie
The Lego Movie constantly refrains the song “Everything is Awesome!” throughout the film, and though the song is presented as a joke because things aren’t awesome, it best describes The Lego Movie. Because everything is awesome. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took a toy commercial and traditional hero’s journey narrative and turned it into a celebration of tossing out instructions and a collectivist uniting against conformity and conservatism. Also it’s fun and hilarious.

The unlikely group of heroes unite against President Business, who controls the entire world and wants things to stay just the way they are. He gets incensed when things are built that don’t follow the rules or are weird. His reign has seen the Lego city become a virtual police state where everyone follows a huge list of rules and destroys anything out of the ordinary to be replaced with construction that follows the rules. The people are lulled into accepting their reality with glee, thanks to control of television and music, where every show is Where’s My Pants? and every song is the aforementioned “Everything is Awesome!”
Lego Movie
The resistance becomes a celebration of individuality vs marching to the same drum beat. The Lego Movie encourages you to build what you want, and not worry about if your projects conflict with what someone expects you to do. While President Business seeks his stagnant perfection, the real progress and fun comes from the chaos of creation.
Lego Movie

Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) – Emmet is the most average man who ever averaged, and even when he follows all the rules (and there are a lot of rules), no one seems to remember him much at all. But things change when suddenly the Piece of Resistance is stuck to his back, and it looks like he has a prophesy to fulfill. If he can just be interesting!
Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) – A Master Builder who searches for the Piece of Resistance and finds it on Emmet. She mistakenly thinks he’s much more powerful than he actually is. But despite her disappointment, she becomes part of the inspiration for Emmet to rise up beyond his lot in life. Is dating Batman.
Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) – Wise sage who prophesies the downfall of Lord Business and the Piece of Resistance. He’s blinded, and later begins training Emmet, though there is little time for actual training. Has trouble telling Gandalf and Dumbledore apart.
Batman (Will Arnett) – The best movie Batman since Adam West. The caped crusader joins the mission to save the universe because he’s Batman and that’s what Batman does. He’s dark. Also he’s dating Wyldstyle, in between making his music. FYI, people in the audience cheered when Batman showed up.
Lord/President Business (Will Ferrell) – Lord Business is President of the Lego city and controls all aspects of it, in a creepy Big Brother way. He’s also a super villain, who has stolen an artifact that he plans to use to end the world (which involves freezing it in place.) That is, unless he’s stopped by The Piece of Resistance!

Lego Movie
Minor spoilers below the fold!
Read more…

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 1, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Heat

The Heat


2013
Written by Katie Dippold
Directed by Paul Feig

The Heat
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy give us a fucking hilarious action comedy with The Heat. The swear word is used in spirit with the film, which throws F-bombs like an NFL quarterback. Before we continue, be advised I saw this at a free public screening, so once again Tars has sold out.

The Heat is not afraid to be rough around the edges and show violence as it is, violent. Characters are killed with large bullet holes and blood splatters, while a villain who dismembers his victims is the target of Ashburn’s investigation in Boston. The Heat takes advantage of the R-rating to not sugar coat the consequences. Paul Feig gives a worthy Bridesmaids followup that is still female focused, which is great because that film inspired a whole host of woman-centered comedies that have shined more than not.
The Heat
The two female lead roles are unique in that the reasons no one likes their characters has nothing to do with the fact that they are women and everything to do with them being terrible people to work with. This doesn’t mean they are bad at their jobs, they are among the best. But they work best alone because they are on such a different page than their coworkers. Rowdy Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) berates and yells at her boss (played by a hilarious Tom Wilson from Back to the Future) so much he’s rapidly aging. Straitlaced Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) spends most of her field ops criticizing her fellow agents and upstaging everyone with finding hidden evidence, including the dogs.
The Heat
Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Last Stand

The Last Stand


2013
Written by Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff, and George Nolfi
Directed by Kim Ji-woon

The Last Stand
My hand is huge!

We got both a return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Hollywood debut of Kim Ji-woon with the modern day western The Last Stand. But is the title prophetic and a sign that we should stay away? If you are looking for amazing action and a return to form for an actor turned politician, then you might want to keep waiting. But if you want a good forgettable action flick with some funny parts, then The Last Stand is a passable January release. It isn’t terrible, it’s just we’ve seen much better from both the star and the director, so things come out disappointing. And that’s the worst sting of all.

Kim Ji-woon is no stranger to Westerns, he directed The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, one of the best Western-inspired films ever. He’s also responsible for I Saw The Devil, one of those films that people watch and then describe with a single emoticon of a traumatized face staring into the distance. Kim Ji-woon is the first of three popular Korean directors who are making their Hollywood debut in 2013 (Bong Joon-ho with Snowpiercer and Park Chan-wook with Stoker are the other two.) He’s also the only reason I had any interest in taking the time to see The Last Stand.

I am sorry to say that things are up to Kim Ji-woon’s normal standards of excellence. But The Last Stand isn’t a wash, either. It follows the normal arc progression of a Western with the eventual showdown against the gang by the Sheriff and his deputies. There is a lot of scattered action sequences throughout the buildup, as the cartel leader escapes from captivity then carves his way through increasingly incompetent police roadblocks via increasingly ridiculous ambush attacks.

The Last Stand
Minimalist action theater

In the usual Western, the baddies are constantly harassing the town, the people the Sheriff likes and loves, and the danger is more personal. As Gabriel Cortez is more of a guy who is just passing through town, The Last Stand attempts to counter this by having some of his gang in town building an escape bridge. The gang causes trouble and is involved in a firefight with the Sheriff’s office. Though the gang’s leader is played by awesome dude Peter Stormare, the rest are all faceless militia types and there isn’t enough there to make them feel so evil you cheer when the hero kills them.

Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Arnold is the sheriff of Summerton Junction, where he went after a shootout went wrong during his career as an LA narcotics squad detective. He now deals with local town with small town troubles, but sometimes big trouble comes by.
Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) – Forest Whitaker plays the desperate FBI agents who gets stymied at every turn by Gabriel Cortez’s escape. A role that requires a lot of yelling on the phone as whatever plan is happening goes terribly wrong.
Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) – The evil drug cartel leader and world class racer, driving down deserted desert roads at 197 mph. But he is too fast and not enough furious to deal with the Terminator!
The Last Stand
Police Academy: Honey Boo-Boo

Read more…

2 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Argo

Argo


2012
Written by Chris Terrio (screenplay) and Joshuah Bearman (article)
Directed by Ben Affleck

Worst. Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Ever.

The story of how the CIA created a fake science fiction movie as a cover in order to rescue Iranian hostages is a story that has become legend in the world of internet movie discussions. Over the years, the story became repeated and linked to again and again, building as articles and books sprang up to be linked to, blowing the minds of movie fans new to the tale each time it appeared. It’s one of those true life things that is impossible to make up, as it sounds too far fetched to be real. But it is real, and it’s so real it has passed on to legend. Like all good legends, someone made a movie about it!

Argo is both the name of the fake CIA movie and the name of this film. History comes alive as we enter the world of 1979-1980. From the old school three bar Warners production logo to the final scene of thousands of dollars of vintage toys, we are in the past. There is a very quick comic book history lesson of Iran’s history up to 1979, followed by vintage news reports of US/Iranian tensions that will be sprinkled throughout the film to show the building tension between both sides. It is interesting how the US/Iranian tensions are still relevant now over 30 years later, the same basic issues and anger are present.

Too busy being awesome to listen to the haters

Cast members become unrecognizable beneath their period haircuts and clothing, make up applied to best ape their real world counterparts. The fashions, the cars, Tom Brokaw with black hair, typewriters, everyone smoking everywhere, the Hollywood sign in ruins, it’s all there. Events I only have the faintest recall of due to my other priorities of being in the terrible twos.

But the film is more than a picture of the past. The cast is solid. Affleck put together a powerhouse ensemble of great actors. They blend into the roles.

We open just as the Shah has been overthrown, people are rioting in the streets as revolution runs rampant. The US embassy is besieged both inside from people wanting visas out, to the mob outside yelling at the gates. But they come over the top, storming the compound and capturing everyone. Six US employees manage to escape and hide out, eventually settling at the home of the Canadian ambassador. The Iranians don’t know anyone is missing, yet. But there is no easy way to get them out. So it’s time to come up with some plans.

Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) – CIA agent and expert in disguise. Comes up with the crazy plan that’s just so out there it might work. Sadly this is also a case of white-washing, as Tony Mendez is Latino.
Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston) – Mendez’s boss and supporter, helps deal with the levels of bureaucracy in Washington. Can think fast on his feet while stuff is hitting the fan.
John Chambers (John Goodman) – Academy Award winner John Chambers is one of the best makeup artists in the world. He also does some jobs on the side for the CIA. Which is the connection they need to bring him on for the most important job of his life.
Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) – Hollywood producer brought in to help set up the fake movie and production company. I don’t think he is a real person, as Robert Sidell was the main person helping John Chambers, but Arkin is great as the washed up producer even if it is fantasy.
This is how Hollywood really works.

Read more…

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 5, 2012 at 1:54 am

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect


2012
Written by Kay Cannon
Based on the novel by Mickey Rapkin
Directed by Jason Moore

This is the fourth time we’ve watched Prometheus and it makes less sense each time!

Who knew that a movie about girls singing a cappella would have the most projectile vomiting you will see in a film since Stand By Me? But it does, and beyond that Pitch Perfect is pretty damn hilarious and will be right up there with cult classics for clubs like the Bring It On features or High School Musicals or Drumline. Does following an all too familiar plot cycle make Pitch Perfect a bad film? Aca-scuse me? Of course not! Take a look out the window on this bus journey, we’ll traveling through uncharted and funny territory, singing all the while.

The danger they don’t tell you about at Del Taco!

Pitch Perfect is based on the nonfiction book by Mickey Rapkin dealing with the college a cappella circuit and all the drama it causes. I’ve not read it, so I don’t know how much of the film is real and how much is fake. I’m guessing all the vomit is real. So very real. Vomit…everywhere! Noooo..oo…..o..

There is not really spoilers below. In fact, I think the trailer gives away more of the plot than I do!

Beca (Anna Kendrick) – Reluctant college student at Barden University just burning time until she runs off to LA to do music production work, due to her skills at using programs on her Macbook. Open Apple-ctrl-OWNED, suckers! Also she’s a good singer who just needs to join a group to find out she pushes away anyone close to her. Don’t worry, like all of these girls, her alt-style makeup and piercings will disappear by the end of the flick.
Aubrey (Anna Camp) – Leader of the Bellas and obsessed with getting things done correctly and properly. A stickler for rules. Has a summer job as a fire hose.
Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) – If you aren’t leaving the theater talking about how awesome Fat Amy is, you are a horrible monster and was probably the awful person texting during the film. We all hate you. Especially Fat Amy. If you are wondering where you saw Rebel Wilson before, it was in Bridesmaids
Chloe (Brittany Snow) – Veteran Bella who manages to convince Beca to try out despite Beca’s lack of caring about anything at this point in her character arc. Once that is complete, Chloe is free to develop nodes.
I’ve come for the loofah!

Read more…

3 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 30, 2012 at 1:33 am

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next Page »

%d bloggers like this: