Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

medicine man posterIf I were ever to do a forgotten films list, this movie would be in it. I missed it at the movie theaters when it came out.  When it opened the film was the #1 movie in the box office.  Unfortunately for this film, the very next week Wayne’s World was released and this movie quickly faded away. I ended up watching because I worked in the video store section of the grocery store and got all sorts of free rentals.  The film is quite lovely as it was filmed in the jungles of Brazil and John McTiernan directed it and he knows how to shoot a film as he directed one of the best action movies of all time, Die Hard, and a top five Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Predator.  I love this film but I seem to be in the minority because the many paid critics panned the film as it has a 20% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and the very lovely Lorraine Bracco was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for acting.  I say forget them and get on Netflix and watch this movie.

Dr. Rae Crane, played by Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellows,) arrives in the middle of the Brazilian jungle to assess the  work of one her botanists who has been secluded for 3 ½ years by the name of Dr. Robert Campbell, played by Sean Connery (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.)  After a brief back and forth and an overnight stay Dr. Crane, who is nicknamed Bronx by Campbell, discovers that he has discovered the cure for cancer in this secluded village.  He believes it to be a flower that lives in the jungle canopy.  There is one slight problem, despite his notes he has been unable to replicate the process that created the successful serum and he is running out of the original supply.  Things get more complicated when one of the children of the tribe comes down with cancer and to compound things a road that is being built through the jungle is fast approaching and will eventually force the evacuation of the tribe from the area with the probably destruction of the flower needed for the cure.  The race for the cure begins.

There are two big stars in this film, one being Sean Connery, and the other is the cinematography which is amazing.  Now you may say that shooting in the middle of a rain forest you would have to try hard to NOT make it amazing.  But for me McTiernan showed that he can make an action movie beautiful by the way he shot Predator.  That was an action movie that looked lovely, even if it was hot and full of muscle bound gun toting men.  I just feel that he did a great job of making sure that every scene was lovely.

medicine man 1   Sean Connery in this film is Sean Connery in every film, a Scottish bad ass that portrays his character in an awesome fashion. Dr. Campbell is haunted by his past in that his actions and the companies accidentally killed off an entire tribe when he had discovered a cheap painkiller years earlier.  His past haunts him to the point where his wife and lab assistant left him and by day is a scientist but by night an alcoholic.  I like how he isn’t a mean drunk but more of a sarcastic funny drunk who refuses to forgive himself for killing off a tribe.  Connery is great in the film.

medicine man 3  The minus are few and insignificant in my eyes but they are there.  A I mentioned earlier Bracco was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for her performance in the film (for those that don’t know the same time the Academy Awards come out, the Golden Raspberry comes out to nominate the worst performance in a film.)  Bracco was born in Brooklyn, New York and sounds like she belongs in films like Good Fellas and TV shows like The Sopranos.  But just because she sounds like that doesn’t mean she is out of place and the writers addressed her heritage by Campbell giving her character the nicknamed Bronx.   A big problem for her was that her character wasn’t nearly as well as Connery’s Campbell.  We find out about his demons and why he is the way he is but with her all we know is that she is smart and is engaged to a high society scientist.  Her character is also written to basically complain for an 1 hour and 30 minutes of the 1 hour and 40 minutes of the film.  Let’s also not forget the romantic undertones between the two as it seems to follow the typical love story.  She shows up and they argue.  As the story movies in the movie then begin to see each other’s true character and they start to fall for each other.  One thing the film doesn’t do which I am grateful is that we don’t actually see any romantic scenes.  But at the end of the film with Dr. Crane staying with Dr. Campbell to continue the search as his lab assistant it is strongly implied that they are in a romantic relationship.

One last thing I want to mention is that this movie was largely panned because the movie studios made the mistake of making this film out to be an action movie. I get why they did it since in the 5 years before this movie McTiernan had directed two amazing action films.  But this film is anything but an action movie.  Sure it’s an adventure film with its exotic location but its clearly a dramatic film.  To quote McTiernan, “It was a little art movie with Sean Connery that cost only $27 million. If the press hadn’t defined it as an action movie, it probably wouldn’t have been considered a disappointment.”


I am a big fan of this film and hope those of you who haven’t seen it will Netflix it tonight but please, please wait to chill.  After all fellas, most women get all excited listening to that Scottish brogue and if you close your eyes and listen to Bracco and her accent is kind of hot.  So watch the film first, chill after.

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lego-batmanSo I had my choices of movies that opened this weekend to see. They were John Wick: Chapter 2(which I am waiting to see with a friend,) Fifty Shades Darker (be a cold day in hell for me to see that movie by myself,) and The LEGO Batman Movie.   Now the one similar thing between Fifty Shades Darker and The LEGO Batman Movie is that a single guy going to see either of these movies by himself is borderline creepy, albeit for different reasons.    So if you had in the aforementioned cold day in hell and the fact that I love Batman, The LEGO movie it would be.  I was hoping for another surprise like last year’s Zootopia.  Instead I got something that was closer to Minions with more steady laughs but no laugh out loud moments.

LEGO Batman, voiced by Will Arnet (Despicable Me,) is the King of Gotham constantly foiling the evil plans of the Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover.)  But one thing that Batman hasn’t been able to overcome is his fear of loss relating to his parents.  That is why he fights crime alone and lives alone with Alfred, voiced by Ralph Fiennes (Spectre.) His life takes a sudden change when he accidentally agrees to adopt orphan Dick Grayson, voiced by Michael Cera (Superbad,) when Batman was distracted by the new Gotham Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon, voiced by Rosario Dawson (Sin City.)  As Batman tries to hide his fear from his new friends The Joker is working on the ultimate plan to get revenge on Batman.

My basic problem with this film is twofold.  One, to me, the movie is aimed at children under the age of 12.  Two, while there are lots of little jokes, especially Batman lore related, nothing really makes me laugh out loud and it seems like there was no real story development because it is very basic.  Of course since I believe the target market is 11 and under, that works.

The story of the movie has the feel of an afterschool special movie made in the 70’s and 80’s.  The whole purpose of the story is to tell kids the importance of family and how you can’t do things alone and that it is ok to ask for help from anyone, including your enemy. This is all fine and good I suppose for the Millennial and Gen-Xer parents out there wanting to enforce that kind of crap…I’m sorry, feelings in their kids.  The problem I have is that in this day in age of Pixar films and non-Pixar Disney films and a few Dreamworks films that cater to both the child and the adult child, this film is aimed strictly for the kids and for me belongs on the Disney Channel and not at the movie theater.  But then again I don’t have kids so what do I know.


The most telling thing for me and this film is that today I had a long day of work and barely five hours of sleep.  No matter how tired I am if I am into the movie I have no problems staying awake.  However, for this film, I dozed off for I would think 10 minutes at least because I have no idea how The Joker’s Gotham city bad guys got dumped by the Joker for all of the phantom zone villains but it did (This will make more sense when you see the film.)

I will say all of the Batman related jokes were giggle worthy but if you know nothing about Batman and its movies or the TV show then you might miss out on them and then the entire film won’t be funny at all.  The special effects were also amazing and on par with the LEGO Movie.

This will be an entertaining film for your kids but I can’t say for sure that you will like it.  This movie basically takes a great character from the LEGO Movie and tries to give that character its own film but the story is to basic and the lack of humor makes it basically a one trick pony for one and half hours.  But go see it because it won’t be the worst film you see this year.

Oh yes one more thing, there normally would be a whole paragraph on how annoyed I am that movie studios and their marketing departments are wasting the movies best material in the ridiculous amount of trailers released before the movie and why that it is bad.  But I am beginning to accept the fact that this will be happening all the time in the present and future so I should just get used to it.  So stupid.

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drstrangeIt’s amazing to me how the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps making quality movies, ok not including The Incredible Hulk, with almost no effort.   Eventually the odds alone will tell you that they have to make a downright awful film at least according to the critics.  I wasn’t a fan of Iron Man 3 but I am a lone voice of dislike in a forest of love.  The next movie in the MCU is Doctor Strange which is a little bit different than the other Marvel films and while I do enjoy the film and in general have nothing negative to say about it, I still left the theater with an empty feeling.

Dr. Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Zoolander 2,) is a world renowned neurosurgeon with the ego and arrogance to go with it.  When Strange gets into a horrible car accident he loses the ability to use his hands and when Western science fails him he desperately goes to Katmandu, Nepal to find Kamar-taj and the ability to heal himself.  Once there he meets The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia,) and Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave,) who is one of her many followers and they show Strange that there is much more than the scientific world that he knows.  As he begins to learn the spiritual world and magic, he also learns of The Ancient One’s former pupil Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale,) who has stolen pages from a spell book that if performed properly will bring about the end of the world.  Doctor Strange will have to use all of his skill and to think about more than himself if he is to help defeat this new evil set upon the world.

I did like this movie and I will bet a paycheck that this movie will be nominated for an Academy Award for Special Effects.  As of now, and this is before the new Star Wars movie hits, either this film or Warcraft will win best special effects.  Or maybe I should say SHOULD win special effects.  I haven’t seen the movie Inception but from what I have seen from the trailers of it, Doctor Strange has many of the same special effects, only better.  I know that these actors filmed against a green screen but to see how much jumping and running around the actors did with the green screen and how it gets translated into the movie is just awesome.  The out of body fight scenes were pretty cool as well.  The visual effects in this film are a big plus.

The story is…a mix bag for me and the big reason why I left with the empty feeling.  The story starts a tad slow, at least in my eyes, but once Strange gets accepted to be trained by The Ancient One, the story really starts to move.  I very much enjoyed watching him going from a Doctor who just wants to heal his hands to a man who is learning more about the mystical world.  My problem is the third act of the film.  It seems very rushed to me.  To me it seems like there is a slow build of Strange learning about Magic and the mystical realm.  Then it shows where Strange is learning quickly, even faster than he should be, and learning things that seem above his level, but he is still a student.  Suddenly he is thrust into a position where he has to defend a sanctum by himself versus Kaecilius and two of his minions and ends up doing a fairly good job.  Which is odd because the sanctums are supposed to be guarded by bad asses trained by The Ancient One and Kaecilius and his minions basically walk threw them.  So if these protectors had years of training and get smoked I find it hard to believe that Strange, even though he is gifted, would be able to survive the attack.  Sure he did get beat, sort of, which caused him to have to use a portal to his old hospital to find his ex-girlfriend Christine, played by Rachel McAdams (Spotlight,) to heal his physical body while his spiritual one continues the fight.  Strange then becomes the de facto leader of them when something bad happens to the Ancient One.  Then he and the rest of the followers must protect the last sanctum in Hong Kong.  To me it just happens way to fast for this kind of character development.  Now the action is awesome and its fun to watch and I like it, but it kind of doesn’t make sense to me.

The casting is excellent to me.  I love Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and have been a big fan of Mads Mikkelson since I first saw him in the movie King Arthur.  I think we could have seen more of Mikkelson in the film to make his bad guy even better.  Marvel movies have had one big problem in that other than Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, there have been no really good villains in most of the Marvel movies.  Mikkelson’s character Kaecilius falls into that as well unfortunately because we don’t get to see him enough and have his character developed.  But I still like him in this roll.  I also liked Tilda Swinton but there seems to be some upset Millennials about her casting as The Ancient One because apparently this roll should have been given to an Asian.  I say F- Off and get over it.  She was a great choice and people need to stop whining.

I know I have bitched a lot about this movie but I did enjoy it over all.  It fits in well with the MCU and I am sure we will have a part 2.  If you are a fan of these movies or of Benedict Cumberbatch then by all means head out and watch the film on the big screen.  It is worth it.


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suicidesquadI should really be complaining about the plan that DC/Warner Bros has had for the DC Universe movies so far. I am a fan of this movie but the producers and marketing people committed the same sins in this film that they did in Batman v Superman.  For some reason the folks over at DC/Warner Bros are in a big hurry to try and catch up on Marvel in the comic book super hero movie chase.  I don’t get that because DC has better heroes, better stories and all they need to do is just take their time and they will be rolling in the dough.  Hopefully they will realize this because they can’t keep building up expectations and then fail to deliver on those expectations.

After the death of Superman, government officials are scrambling to try and decide how to protect themselves from their next meta-human attack.  ARGUS official Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis (Prisoners,) creates a team of super villains called Task Force X specifically designed to be sent in to fight other Meta- humans or super natural forces.   The team consists of world’s best assassin Deadshot, played by Will Smith (Concussion,) the Joker’s Psychotic girlfriend Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,) a master thief Captain Boomerang, played by Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys,) Killer Croc, a henchman with a physical deformity, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Concussion,) a former gang banger with powerful ability to manipulate fire named El Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez (World Trade Center,) and archeologist June Moon who is possessed by a 3000 year old witch named Enchantress, played by Cara Delevingne (Pan.)  Waller has the entire group led by a Special Forces soldier named Col. Rick Flag, played by Joel Kinnaman (Safe House.)  Since he is a normal human he is guarded by a female Japanese swordsman named Katana, played by Karen Fukuhara in her debut role.  The group is sabotage before they get going because Enchantress temporarily escapes and releases her brother Incubus, played by Alain Chanoine (Immortals,) from his prison and begins to wreak havoc in Central City.  When Flag and Enchantress are sent to solve the problem, Enchantress escapes and uses her brothers’ power to build a machine to destroy the military’s of the world and put the people of it under their power.   Waller sends in the rest of Task Force X to save some important people in the city and destroy Enchantress.  If things weren’t bad enough, The Joker, played by Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club,) is running around screwing with Waller’s team trying to get his girlfriend back.

So here is the problem with not only this film, which I enjoyed, but Batman v Superman, which I loved, both movies have some amazing scenes that are spoiled by being shown in the multiple prerelease trailers that come out before the movies and the stories aren’t as strong as the action in the movies.  So I am left wanting more because the stories aren’t as good as the action.  Not so much for Batman v Superman, but definitely this film.  I think that the producers are in such a hurry to catch up to the Marvel Cinematic movies and its giant money making machine, that they are forgetting how Marvel got to where they are now.  Before there was The Avengers we had two Iron Man movies and one each for Captain America, Thor, and Incredible Hulk.  Now to be fair to DC, Iron Man 2 and Batman v Superman are the basically the same movie in that they both introduced many characters with a goal of opening up each universe.    But Marvel gave us four movies that introduced us to the films so when The Avengers happened we knew who they were so the movie didn’t have to waste time on delving into who they were and how they came to be.    Now if DC was smart, after Man of Steel, they did a solo Batman movie where he was dealing with Deadshot while focusing on The Joker and Harley Quinn.  That would have given us back ground on both.  Also we should have had a second Superman movie dealing with Lex Luthor and Doomsday.  Heck we could even have a Flash movie with Captain Boomerang as his bad guy.  So that way we could go into Suicide Squad and Justice League without the back story.  But that is not what happened.  Instead we get movies that are hurried with the story so we can get the DC universe started.  However I think that we are probably good now because we have been introduced to Batman and Superman, we will get a Wonder Woman movie before Justice League, and Suicide Squad should lead to a sequel as well as a Harley Quinn spin off.  It’s just a rough way to start a movie universe that I have been dying to have since I have always been a DC guy.

Suicide Squad’s focus was really on two of its characters, Deadshot, and Harley Quinn but for different reasons.  Deadshot was a focus because of Will Smith played him and he is a mega star.  Harley Quinn was the other because Harley Quinn has become a fan favorite and needed to be.   I thought Deadshot was developed nicely and Will Smith was Will Smith, which is usually a good thing and it was in this movie.  Margot Robbie, who played Harley, has been in several kick ass roles so far and she has been great in the two that I have seen, including this one.  I thought she did a great job of living up to the expectations of her character.  She was the required amount of smart, funny, sexual, and badass crazy.  If someone disagrees they are not aware of her character.



One character that I am not totally sold on is Jared Leto’s version of The Joker.   This is by far the most disturbed of the Joker’s we have been given in the Batman movie world.    I feel that his character was thrown into this movie very much in the same way that Wonder Woman was thrown in to Batman v Superman.  However unlike Wonder Woman who stole the show, The Joker didn’t really sell it for me mostly because of the damn trailer issue again.  So I am willing to give him a pass for that reason.  Plus, lets face it, following one of the greatest acting performances we have been given i.e. Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, is a hard thing to do.  Leto did a good enough job to have me wanting to see more and if he didn’t I would be protesting loudly.


Speaking of the Dark Knight, and I mean this world’s Dark Knight, I love me some Ben Affleck as Batman.  Even though it was three cameos’, two in the movie and one during the credits, it was fun to see him, ever so briefly.  Sure I am in major fan boy action right now but I am just so surprised at how awesome he is at being Batman.  There was also a brief cameo of the Flash capturing Captain Boomerang and I have to admit between that and the Justice League trailer I am looking forward to his movie as well.  Another character I liked in this film, and possibly the biggest badass of them all, was Amanda Waller.  She is a scary kind of evil in a good person body.  I hope we get to see more of her in future films.

One thing I do like about all of the DC movies so far is that they have no problems killing people off in them.  We know that Superman kills General Zod in the first movie, then Superman dies in Batman v Superman (yeah I know he is coming back,) and Suicide Squad kept it up by killing Incubus and having a hero sacrifice himself while doing it (I won’t say which one in case you haven’t seen it.)  We even had a sacrificial death of one member of the Suicide Squad to show that there are consequences for trying to escape.  I like this aspect of the DC Universe compared to Marvel.  Other than the death of a few bad guys, mostly at the hands of Iron Man, we haven’t lost a single hero in 12 Marvel movies, including the one where we were expecting a death, Captain America: Civil War.  I like how in the DC universe we may lose a hero we like.

Lastly I will say two things.  One, if you liked the previous two DC movies then I believe you will like this one as well, It is a fairly good movie.  The second thing I will say is that many people, ie asshole critics, have mentioned that these movies are darker than Marvel.  I know there are high hopes for the Wonder Woman movie to lighten it up but I will remind you of a few things.  Wonder Woman takes place during World War I, the bloodiest war of all time until World War II.  The other and more important thing is that Wonder Woman is working with the good guys and she still ends up leaving all of mankind because she considers us hopeless, again while working for the good guys (ok huge assumptions here but this is my guess.)  That movie won’t have a happy ending so the darkness of the DC Universe won’t change anytime soon.

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independence day 2So after a 20 year wait we finally get the sequel to the 1997 motion picture giant that was Independence Day. The original film has grown on me as I have gotten older and more tolerable of certain things.  Both movies are Roland Emmerich films and usually his disaster films are not my favorite with the first Independence Day being probably my favorite of his disaster films.  As I was looking up the cast as the sequel approached I was shocked to see that there is no Will Smith in the movie to save the world.  However we do have Jeff Goldblum so I am no longer worried and am quite sure we will be victorious in the end.  Now my only question is will the movie be as victorious as the first one?

Its been 20 years since the first alien attack and not only is the United Earth Defense Force ready to defend, they are ready to kick ass, or so they think.    Before the celebration an alien probe enters around the orbit of the moon but it has none of the same features as the first alien.  Even though the some in the government, including David Levinson, played once again by Jeff Goldblum (Mortdecai,) ask that they wait to determine the origin of the probe, the defense attack it and destroy the probe. During the celebration of the anniversary of the victory of the first attack a new space ship shows up and it is much larger than the original ship and lands over the entire Atlantic Ocean.  It starts a drill that Levinson believes is designed to reach the core of the Earth.  The Defense Force has to find a way to destroy the ship or at least stop the drill or the planet will be destroyed.

The best parts of the film for me was basically my since of nostalgia.  I loved seeing Goldblum reprised his role as Levinson, who is now the head scientist of the Defense Force, and Bill Pullman (Independence Day,) who plays former President Whitmore.  I loved him much more in this film then I did in the original, and in this one he plays a man that is afflicted from being in direct contact with the aliens 20 years earlier.  Another one who is also afflicted is the old scientist in charge of the old Area 51 Dr. Okun, played by  Brent Spiner (Independence Day,) who has been in a coma since he was attacked 20 years ago.  Even Levinson’s father Julius, played by Judd Hirsch (Independence Day,) is in the film reprising his roll as the most Jewish parent since the mom of South Park character Kyle Broslofski.

However the movie did nothing to really advance any of their characters from the original film.  All of the character development is left to the next generation of fighters, which includes Jake Morrison, played by Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games,) who lost his parents in the original attack and joined the Defense Force who is also somewhat of a loose cannon, Dylan Hiller, played by Jessie T. Usher (When The Game Stands Tall,) who is the adopted son of the hero of the last war Steven Hiller, played by Will Smith in the first film, who is killed in a test flight, and Patricia Whitmore, played by Maika Monroe (It Follows,) who is the daughter of former President Whitmore who left the Defense Force to take care of him.  I have now spent as much time on the backstory as the writers did in the movie.  In fact this entire film seems rushed as if they had 18 months to come up with a story and not 20 years.

Another issue is that with a few pieces and they are important, the story is almost a carbon copy of the original movie.  Aliens come and land, we attack first, which is different, but we still get our ass kicked, the same, the aliens head to Area 51, we set up a trap, it works, sort of , and after a close call, we win.  Just like in the original movie.  So much like people complaining about the new Star Wars movie, we waited 20 years to see the old story told anew with a few changes.  I also felt nothing for any of the deaths in this film which would include the new President Lanford, played by Sela Ward (Gone Girl,) and Hiller’s mother, once again played by Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day.)  I did feel a little bad about her death but only because of the nostalgia of seeing her in the first film.  There is another death that made me feel a little sad but I won’t spoil that for you.

The biggest thing that was missed from this movie that made the other movie fun was the humor that was mostly provided by Will Smith.  I have no idea why Will Smith decided not to do this film or if he wasn’t even asked, but he needed to be in it.  The humor replacements Charlie Miller who is Morrison’s co-pilot, played by Travis Tope (The Town that Dreaded Sundown,) and the governments accounting person, who I don’t remember his name, were both very poor substitutes, especially the guy whose name  I don’t know.  Judd Hirsch played the same roll that provided some humor, same as last movie, and Brent Spiner was the same and did the same, but not nearly enough to make up for the huge absence that was Will Smith.

The special effects are awesome and are better than the first although I am not sure if the Earth would even survive the landing of a ship the size greater than the Atlantic Ocean but I suspend disbelief on that.  The aliens look much better than the first time too.

Just like the first movie, I will probably own this because it is fun and we are going to get sequels.  The one thing that is better than the first movie is that I am the only one on the planet who hated President Whitmore’s speech.  He gives a much better one the second time around but to a much smaller group.  It’s not the worst movie this year, but its nothing special.


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warcraftWhen I first heard that they were making a Warcraft movie I was both happy and worried. Most video game movies suck and this movie would have to rely on a lot of special effects to tell the story.  Being a fan of and player of the game the movie is based on I was interested in seeing how they would put it together.  I can say that after seeing this film that I did enjoy it but not for the reasons I expected and I think overall this movie is pretty good.  Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead.

After destroying their home world, the Orc Horde, led by Gul‘dan, played  by Daniel Wu (The Man with the Iron Fists,) sends a small force of Orc warriors through the Dark Portal to the land of Azeroth with the hopes of building a similar portal and bring the rest of the Horde across.  One of the Orc Clan leaders, Durotan, played by Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,) begins to have doubts about Gul’dan and in particular his use of Fel Energy to power himself and fellow Orcs as it seems to destroy all it touches.  The humans of Azeroth, led by Anduin Lothar, played by Travis Fimmel (TV series Vikings,) the mage Khadgar, played by Ben Schnetzer (The Book Thief,) and King Llane Wrynn, played by Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger,) are trying to figure out what is attacking them and why.  They manage to capture a female Orc named Garona, played by Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,) who tells them what is planned.  While Wrynn prepares his forces Khadgar and Lothar head to Karazan to ask for help from the protector of the land Medivh, played by Ben Foster (Lone Survivor,) who does so but at the same time possess a secret that may be the downfall of the alliance.

I have been playing the World of Warcraft game for about 8 years and before that in the late 1990’s I played with the strategy game that came first.  I say this because despite my knowledge of the lore, or history, in the game, I do not know the beginnings as well as I do the middle and current.  So I can’t say how much they changed the lore of the game to incorporate into the movie.  But from what I know, which isn’t much, the movies story is fairly close to the lore from the game.  For me that is the best thing about the movie because I found the story fascinating and quite good.  I do not feel you need to know the game to understand the movie, sure it helps, but I don’t believe people who know nothing of the game will be lost in the story. The story is more about the Orc invasion and the struggle Durotan has in watching Gul’dan lead the horde than it is about the alliance side of the war.  My knowledge of the game allowed be to enjoy it because I knew the names of the characters but don’t really know how they relate to the history.  But again, I am a fan of the story in the movie.  It got off to a little bit of a rocky start but it quickly got passed it and I began to be engrossed in the story.  For those Warcraft fans that know the story inside and out don’t be upset if they changed a few things, it happens to fans of books that get turned into movies and it’s a necessary evil.

It’s hard to comment on the acting because with the exception of Garona all of the Orcs had lots of CGI and I couldn’t really tell what expression was the computer at what would have been the actor.  It was so good that I had no clue that Gul’dan was played by an Asian actor.  But at no point did I say or feel that any of the actors were doing a bad job or just plain bad.  I did enjoy Paula Patton’s performance as Garona and Ben Schnetzer’s performance as Khadgar.

What I was also impressed with was the special effects of the film.  They did a great job of making all of the races of Azeroth look as real as possible.  I was surprised at how well the Orcs looked and well as the Draenei race.  I won’t say that they looked as perfect as a human but since they are created beings I believe they did the best that technology could create.   The landscape shots that they created to show the areas in and around Stormwind as well as Karazan and the Dark Portal areas were really nice as well.  The reason I sound surprised is that one of my worries is that this movie would have the feel of another fantasy role playing game turned horrible movie, Dungeon & Dragons.  That movie was poorly done on many levels.  Warcraft if definitely not Dungeons & Dragons and if anything it is closer to the Lord of the Ring movies in terms of look and feel of the scenery.

I was also surprised at the fight and battle scenes in the movie and not because of how they looked because those scenes were very nice as well.  What I was surprised at was how few there really were in the film.  The makers of the film made a conscious effort to give the story some thought and development and was as big a reason why I like this film as was the fight scenes and special effects.  I will be disappointed if this film is not nominated for an Academy Award for best Visual Effects.  I have seen lots of movies this year with special effects and all of them are behind Warcraft.

To those of you who have never heard of or cared to play the game but you liked the Lord of the Ring Movies then you can see this movie and should have a good time.  To my friends who play the game please keep open minds about the movie realizing that they had to change some things to make it into a movie.  I am a fan of the movie because it is fun and engaging.

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5thwaveWhen this movie hit the theaters I had it on my list of movies to see but for reasons I missed it. I guess I was worried that movies that come out in January usually are lacking in all things story, plot, acting, and special effects.  I can say that for the most part that statement is true but I do like the film.

The 5th Wave centers on high school teenager Cassie Sullivan, played by Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass,) as she and her family deal with an alien invasion that comes in five stages with the plan of harvesting the ample resources this planet has to offer.  After the death of her parents in different stages Cassie is on the hunt for her little brother who was supposedly taken away by the US Military for safety but is actually kidnapped by aliens to help with the execution of the final wave and dominance of the Earth.

The biggest reason I like this movie is its main star Chloe Grace Moretz.  I remember liking her as a very young actress in the remake of The Amityville Horror and I have proof because you can see the review here where I say that she was great. I also was a fan of her as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass.  In this movie she goes from being typical smart teenage girl to a girl who is scared to death but determined to save her little brother from the aliens.  Since the entire premise of this movie is ridiculous the fact that she goes from teenage girl to badass with a gun isn’t completely over the top.  And that is more on the writer and director not her.  She did a fine job of what she was asked to do.

The special effects in this film, with one exception, were largely lacking from beginning to end.  I did like the scene that you can see in the trailer that shows the slow fall of a jetliner hit the ground.  That I thought was very nicely done.  They also did an ok job with the explosions at the military base.  What I didn’t like was the many tsunami scenes that were depicted during the 2nd wave.  The one that Cassie (Moretz) and her brother were running from in the forest was, for me, borderline Sci-Fi Channel-esque in how bad it looked.  I almost expected to see some form of sharks swimming in it.  The others that showed the large views of cities getting wiped out were one step below the one I saw in the disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow, so not horrible but definitely could be done better.  The other big special effects disaster in this film was the portrayal of alien hosts inside the brains of the humans.  I don’t know if the plot and the story were designed to make it look like the aliens were in a video game display so the kids would believe it looked real.  I guess I don’t know how they could have made the aliens look more real but I didn’t like what they did.

I believe this movie is based on a book and I am guessing that they followed the storyline of how Evan Walker, played by Alex Roe (The Calling,) basically explains everything to Cassie about how the aliens are in the adults and they are using the children as their army because they are more innocent and naïve.  I just wish that Cassie would have found out a different way, it would have made the story more interesting.  Also I had a hard time believing that this alien plan would have worked.  I can buy it if you want to tell me a bunch of 15-17 year olds can be trained to be a military unit, provided they are basically cannon fodder, but there is no way that you are going to have an 8 year old fighting in combat, at least an 8 year old from any first world country like the US or Europe.  Now if this was taking place in Central Africa or the Middle East we can talk about 8 year olds, but not anywhere else really.  I will say that I did like the start of the movie showing Cassie making a choice and killing what looked like an innocent person.  A Good way to start the film but it’s also all downhill from there.

Before I finish I would like to give a shout out to two actors, Ron Livingstone (Office Space,) who played Cassie’s father, and Liev Schrieber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who played the US Army Colonel, that I was happy to see get dusted off and put on film.  I know that Livingstone was recently in The Conjuring but I don’t remember the last time I saw Schrieber.  I see Livingstone enough but that is just because I enjoy Office Space as much as possible.  They both did a fine job of acting as did most of the actors in the film.  My biggest issue with any of the acting would be that of Cassie’s little brother Sam, played by Zackary Arthur, (Amazon TV Transparent.)  He is young so there is room for improvement but in what little he did he was very Jake Lloyd like in Star Wars Episode one.  That is never good for a young actor.

I do have more but my movie review partner, Benn Farrell, did a review for this movie earlier and we have many of the same issues.  You can read his review here.  I will see that while I liked this film I wish it was better.  If there is a sequel and Chloe Grace Moretz is in it the film then I will probably watch it.  If she isn’t then I can’t guarantee I will willingly see it.

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xmenapocI was looking forward to this movie for two reasons. One, both X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past were both entertaining and very good films.  I was looking forward to see where they were going next.  The second reason I wanted to see this film is that my most recent Hollywood crush, Olivia Munn, had a part in this film and the outfit she was wearing was very flattering to her already wonderful figure.

In Cairo, Egypt a long dormant mutant named Apocalypse, played by Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens,) with extraordinary powers is awoken and he immediately goes on the hunt for mutants he can manipulate into joining him as his guards.  After he recruits his four horsemen he sets out to cleanse the earth and start over with mutants being the dominant life form on Earth.  It is up to Professor Xavier, played by James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and his band of new and old recruits, including the wayward child Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II,) to stop Apocalypse and his four horseman, one of them being Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs.)

For a movie that is 2 hours 20 minutes long it moved quite quickly.  Of course the story was exactly complicated.  Unlike in previous movies that used historical events to base their stories around, this time the story is loosely connected to the nuclear arms race that happened between the Soviet Union and the United States during the 80’s.  One problem with the story for me was even though there was a race against the clock at no time did I feel like they were in danger of losing.  Unlike in the previous film, where there was sense of urgency that the young version of the X-Men finish their task before the old ones were killed off, this film did not give me that since of urgency even though it meant too.  I enjoyed the story but it was the worst of the three new X-Men movies.


Another complaint that I have is probably small or non-existent for others but important to me.  Of the four horseman gathered by Apocalypse, one was a regular in the film, Magneto, the other three were introduced in this film, Storm, played by Alexandra Shipp (Straight Outta Compton,) Angel, played by Ben Hardy (British TV EastEnders,) and Psylocke, played by the love of my life Olivia Munn (Ride Along 2.)  The movie showed us the background of Storm, a teenager living on the streets of Cairo stealing to survive who looked up to Mystique, Angel was a mutant who was forced to fight in cages in East Germany against other mutants who was freed when Mystique came to rescue Nightcrawler, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road.)  However, once we get to Psylocke, we find out that she is a bodyguard/enforcer for some damn mutant who helps other mutants escape for the right price.  When Apocalypse finds this guy to recruit other mutants, we see him convince Psylocke to join him.  That is the extent of the back ground we get with this character.  Now I have been told of fans of X-Men comic books, I am not one of those, that she is a favorite amongst them.  Yet this movie goes out of the way to make her character seem like a background character at most.  Oh sure she kicks ass and pretty much abuses Hank McCoy/ Beast, played by Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Glory Road,) but that’s really all we know about her.  And, ***Spoiler Alert***, she is the only one of the four horseman that doesn’t turn on Apocalypse, though in her defense she had been knocked unconscious and unable to see how little Apocalypse actually cared for them.  But still she is basically around to look hot in this suit and she does.  Everyone has seen her in her outfit and there is a great story that goes with what she had to do to get in the costume that she explained when the cast visited Conan O’Brien. I will share the YouTube video if you haven’t seen it.  But my point is it seems like they wasted Olivia Munn because she is a major part of the promotion yet other than the kick ass fighter she is we know nothing of her.  That makes me mad because she was the second reason why I wanted to see this film, which happens to be the first one of the three that I saw in the movie theater.

There was a wonderful scene in this film that made me giggle and laugh and it involved Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters (Kick Ass.)  He had just arrived at the School of the Gifted when Havok, played by Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class,) inadvertently blew up the building while trying to save the professor.  What happened next was about 30 to 45 seconds of Quicksilver running around the entire mansion saving the students in fun and hilarious ways.  They really did a great job of making a guy who runs really fast and enjoyable character to watch.  I hope the boys over at DC Movies are watching with regards to The Flash.

I also liked how the movie attempted to show how both Magneto and Mystique were trying to the right thing in their own way in the aftermath of the second movie.  I liked how they showed Magneto kept having tragedy strike him time after time.  It’s not bad enough that you were a little boy in a Nazi concentration camp where you witnessed the death of your mother but we are going to bring a bunch of East German police officers to your house and as you are turning yourself in for being a mutant the police are going to accidentally kill your wife and daughter.  Can you really blame the guy for going all evil all the time?  I also like how the writing made Mystique go from a gun for hire type mercenary in the second film to a hostage rescuer in the third film.  And the final scene that had her marching back and forth in front of the new X-Men talking about what is expected of them was awesome.  This is the Jennifer Lawrence that I can get behind and the kind of character she should have had in the Hunger Game movies.

Despite my anger at the lack of character development for Psylocke’s character and that there wasn’t more Olivia Munn in the movie, I did enjoy the film quite a lot.  It moved fast and the story was entertaining.  Since it is the year of the Super Hero films I would rate this fourth best movie released this year but only because the other three were wonderful.  It’s like asking you to rank your favorite Academy Award winning film, they are all great but there needs to be a winner.

If you would like to see my movie review cohort’s review of this film, click here.


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Pearl HarborWhen I saw the trailers for this film way back in early 2001 I was very excited. Being a WWII history buff I always wanted to see what the modern movie technology could do with the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I didn’t believe that they could improve on the 1970 Academy Award winning film Tora, Tora, Tora in terms of story because Hollywood has to be Hollywood.  I was hoping that we would see a special effects masterpiece showing the attack on Pearl Harbor with great detail and a story that would show a few of the important people leading up to the attack.  What I got was a very good special effects movie with some wonderful moments and a story that was regrettably similar to the movie Titanic.

Capt. Rafe McCawley, played by Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,) and Capt. Danny Walker, played by Josh Hartnett (The Faculty,) are two pilots in the US Army Air Corps trying to prepare for the upcoming war.  In the fall of 1941 Rafe volunteers to join the Eagle Squadron, a group of American pilots fighting with the British against the Germans and leaves Danny as he and the rest of their squadron head off to their new base in Hawaii.  Rafe is also leaving his newfound girlfriend who is a nurse in the US Army, Evelyn Johnson, played by Kate Beckinsale (Vacancy,) and Rafe asks Danny to look out for her.  Just as Danny and Evelyn are getting settled in Hawaii they get word that Rafe is shot down over the English Channel and presumed dead.  Danny and Evelyn try to get over their loss together and keep preparing for the future.  Meanwhile relations between the United States and Japan begin to fall apart and the Japanese decide that the only way they can continue to dominate the Asian theater is for a quick striking sneak attack against the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor Hawaii.

So I am sure that you noticed that my summary of the movie was about 90% story about our heroes and 10% story about the build up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Well that is what this movie feels like.  I do not understand the need to not create a love story but a love triangle in the middle of a movie that is supposed to be about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  There is absolutely no need to introduce this to the movie unless the producers were trying to get a Titanic like audience in that without a love story the chances are that most of your movie theaters will be devoid of any ladies in the audience.  We don’t need to have love story in a movie that should be celebrating the heroes of that battle.  Three years before the release of this film, Stephen Spielberg showed that you can have a great movie that shows the heroism of the military in Saving Private Ryan as long as you have a great story and develop the characters that you focus on.  Pearl Harbor does attempt to develop some of its characters but never has you cheering for any of them except for Affleck’s character and because of the stupid love triangle I ended up cheering against both Hartnett’s and Beckinsale’s characters.  The love story really did this movie harm in my eyes, even though Kate Beckinsale is absolutely gorgeous.

kate beckinsale

The story that involved the actual historical narrative leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor was adequate but not great.  The movie did show the desire of President Franklin Roosevelt, played by Jon Voight (Glory Road,) to do as much as he legally could to support the war effort in Europe.  The movie also showed the US military intelligence codebreakers primarily with the use of the character Captain Thurman, played respectably by Dan Aykroyd (Crossroads.)  The one area I felt the story was a little weak was showing the Japanese side of the events leading up to the battle.  Mako (Conan the Barbarian,) did an nice job as Admiral Yamamoto trying to show in only a few scenes that even though he was planning the attack that he knew the attack itself wasn’t the best thing to do for his county. One thing I thought the writer did do well was to show the real life Navy Petty Officer Dorris “Dorie” Miller, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Selma.) Petty Officer Miller was the first African American to win the Navy Cross for his actions on the USS West Virginia.  He helped rescue several injured sailors to reach safety during the attack and did man a 50m caliber machine gun until he ran out of ammo and had to abandon ship.  All of these things added to the movie and in some degree made up for the love story.

One last thing I will say about the story that has me a little conflicted is the whole Doolittle Raid added to the final 45 minutes of the film.  The reason why I am conflicted is that it is cool to see the raid put to modern film, plus Alec Baldwin (Concussion,) was awesome as the cranky abusive Colonial Doolittle.  What I don’t like about it is that because we are in modern day Hollywood and we are dealing with a bunch of Millennials who need safe spaces from things like…words, Pearl Harbor couldn’t have ended on a down note because people wouldn’t like it.  So they had to have an ending that was somewhat uplifting.  So while it was fun to watch that part of the story it was totally unnecessary to the story.

It sounds like I didn’t like this movie but that is not the case.  I enjoyed the movie despite the love story and other minor issues largely because it did fill my desire of having modern special effects show the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It was a stunning visual feast of destruction for what seems like 45 minutes.  I am not sure that is how long it was combined but it gave me everything I wanted.  I really enjoyed the dogfighting scenes involving Rafe flying in Europe and then the scenes with Rafe and Danny fighting the Japanese during the attack.  Oh and would like to add the Doolittle scenes to my enjoyment as well.  While I saw a few inaccuracies in the ships that were bombed at Pearl Harbor and the explosion of the USS Arizona didn’t lift it out of water, like in the movie, I felt for a PG-13 movie, which it should have been an R movie, did a great job of showing the fight scenes somewhat accurately and showed the many heroic acts of the battle.    This movie did win an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.  It lost the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which I can respect because that movie had better effects.

I would also like to briefly mention that the music in this film was awesome, in particular during the entire attack of Pearl Harbor and the beginning of the Doolittle Raid when the bombers are flying off the aircraft carrier. Hans Zimmer knows how to pluck at my musical emotions and get me worked up and he did once again in this film.

As we celebrate Memorial Day weekend this week and if you are stuck in the house because of bad weather and this movie is on, you can do a lot worse than watching this film.  If you want a more accurate portrayal of the events surrounding the attack from both the Japanese and US point of view then I would recommend you watch the movie Tora, Tora, Tora.  If you don’t have it, this will do, just ignore the whole love story thing.

My fellow movie review website writer, Benn Farrell, has a small review of the film that you can see here, and he also put it in his Favorite Top 5 U.S. Armed Forces Movies, which you can see here. If you would like to see my Top 5 list please go here.

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capamericacwUnpopular opinion: Not only did I like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice more than Civil War but I think, even though Civil War is a great movie, it is a better movie. The movie committed one sin that the last didn’t which I am sure I am in the minority in and it committed another sin the Batman did commit which means that we could be seeing a new trend that really, really bothers me and that is the sin of too many damn trailers giving up the action. That is a disturbing trend that I hope goes away real soon.  That being said this is an entertaining movie but left me wanting more.

****Spoilers below…duh****

The movie picks up with most of the Avengers taking part in hunting down the surviving Hydra strike team warrior Brock Rumlow who is now Crossbones, once again played by Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy.)  As Captain America, played by Chris Evans (Fantastic Four,) Crossbones attempts to blow himself and Cap up.  Cap is saved by Wanda a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olson (Avengers: Age of Ultron,) but in the process takes out half a building and killing dozens of people.  This being the last straw the United Nations tries to force the Avengers to fall under the jurisdiction of a committee of the UN head by US Secretary of State Ross, played by William Hurt, (The Incredible Hulk,) with one of the original Avengers Tony Stark, once again played by Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 2,) not only on board but supporting the idea which Cap does not agree too.  Things get worse when at the UN signing a bomb goes off and it appears that The Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan (The Covenant,) Captain America and Iron Man break against each other as Iron Man goes in search of him while Cap tries to protect them.  Neither of them knows that there is a man in the background pulling all the stings with revenge on the mind with the goal of destroying The Avengers from within using a closely guarded secret not only involving the Winter Soldier but Iron Man as well.

Let me kill off the two things I didn’t like about the film.  First and foremost, this was at least a two and half hour long film and there were parts during the film that, to me, it felt like it.  Especially in the beginning with the build up to the Soldier blowing up the UN and discovering parts of Starks past as well as the minutia that was the build up to the spilt of the group.  I looked at my cell phone three times thinking this was really long.  I know I am probably the only one who thinks this but I never once thought Batman v Superman was slow.  Now the last half of the film was better and the last 45 minutes were great but I am still surprised how slow the pacing was for the film.  The other thing I didn’t like about this film, which is the same complaint I had about Batman vs Superman, is that all of the damn trailers leading up to the film basically gave away all of the fight scenes in the movie.  The only thing that is different and better about Civil war and its trailers is that the trailers really don’t show the context of the action scenes and in some cases make the context the trailers do give in them being false.  But basically the sin of giving all of the action away still took place with all of the damn trailers out there and that pisses me off.  I will say again what I said in my Batman v Superman review, do what Disney did with the new Star Wars movie and release very little with almost no context in the film, even if that means releasing the same trailer over and over.  The Star Wars trailers did not give away the fact that Luke Skywalker had about 15 seconds of screen time which was brilliant.  So movie studios need to copy Disney and not these two films when it comes to trailers.


One of the things I loved about this film is probably the same reason why most of the people are going to see this film.  We get to see people with super powers fight each other in an orgy of action.  We get everyone too, with the exception of Thor and The Hulk, we get everyone together from the bulk of the MCU movies fighting amongst themselves.  We also get two new heroes, well one new one and the rebirth of another one.  This movie introduces Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up,) and we get a new rebooted Peter Parker, aka Spider Man, played by Tom Holland (In the Heart of the Sea,) both of them will have a new movie coming to us in the future.  And like I said, with the exception of Thor and Hulk, everyone from the Avengers movies plus the most recent Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd (Ant-Man,) is in the film.  When the concept of these movies first started getting thrown around by hope was that we would eventually see a bunch of good super heroes go against a bunch of bad ones all at once.  All we have gotten so far is a bunch of super heroes going against faceless armies.  That’s ok, but at this point it looks like this movie will have to fulfill my dreams, at least in the MCU.

The action is awesome, with the caveat of when we get some in the movie, and the special effects are indeed special.  The beginning we get to see a CGI Robert Downey Jr. as he would of looked in my 1991 and it is a 1000 times better then the young Professor X version from X-Man III.  It really looked like a young Robert Downey Jr. well the non-coked version of 1991 of Robert Downey Jr.  I can’t tell you why but the special effects regarding the Scarlet Witch just fascinate me.  Maybe its Elizabeth Olson in her skin tight suits but when she is on screen, I can’t not watch her movement and …well her.  Oh and on a side note Cap finally gets a love interest and no it’s not the gorgeous Black Widow, once again Scarlett Johansson (Hail, Caesar!,) but his babysitter from the 2nd film who was named Kate in that film but was actually named Sharon, played by Emily VanCamp (The Girl In the Book.)  It’s nice to see Cap find love.


My last mini complaint, and what left me wanting more, is that I kept seeing stuff written on the internet, so it must be true, that a super hero, or maybe two, would by the farm in this movie so the MCU could take a mildly serious turn and tone.  Well, spoiler alert, that didn’t happen.  One character did get maimed pretty badly but that’s it.  So two movies into the DCU we have killed off more heroes than in the 12 in the MCU.  Now sure Super-Man will be coming back to life but still it is something I was expecting in this film and it wasn’t delivered.

This movie is still good and entertaining.  In fact the scene where Stark meets Peter Parker is quite hilarious as is the introduction of Ant-Man to Team Cap which would have been 100% funnier if we hadn’t already seen it in a trailer!  At any rate, not sure this movie cracks my top 5 comic book super hero movie list but it would be in the honorable mention list.  It’s fun and that’s what counts in these movies.  Oh and it’s nice to see that they have finally brought in a character from the MCU’s most forgotten movie The Incredible Hulk.

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