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REVIEW – Logan

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment
LoganDirected by: James Mangold
Produced by: Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner
Screenplay by: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Story by: James Mangold
Edited by: Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jayson Genao
Year: 2017

 

Released in 2000, about 3 years after the abomination known as Batman & Robin seemingly killed off the superhero film genre, the first X-Men, even more so than its 1998 predecessor Blade, proved that comic book superhero movies really could find new life in cinemas, provided that the filmmakers took their subjects seriously. While Fox’s X-Men films have had more than their fair share of stumbles, particularly last year’s massively disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse as well as more egregious works like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Last Stand, they have also proven that the studio is willing to take some bold chances, too, rebooting and reorienting timelines with period films, or greenlighting a breakout R-rated comedy action film that proved that risks sometimes pay off with Deadpool. By far, however, the breakout element out of any of these films has been Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who has been a constant presence throughout all these films from the very beginning, appearing in films even when his presence wasn’t necessarily needed because the studio knew he was just that good in the role. Hugh Jackman’s a talented guy, no doubt, but we’re all curious about whether or not it would have been as good as it has been had it not been for his casting in the first X-Men film – something that both nearly didn’t happen and was once a controversial decision at the time due to Jackman’s height betraying the comic character’s usually small stature. That was over 17 years ago, however, and now we’re facing the end of an era, with Jackman declaring Logan will be his final film as the iconic berserker. And thank God for that, as I think we’d all be disappointed if his cameo in Apocalypse was the end and not the phenomenal Logan – a film that may very well be the best superhero adaptation since The Dark Knight. Read more…

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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Jurassic World

June 19, 2015 1 comment
Jurassic WorldDirected by: Colin Trevorrow
Produced by: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley; Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull (executive producers)
Screenplay by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Story by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Edited by: Kevin Stitt
Cinematography by: John Schwartzman
Music by: Michael Giacchino, John Williams (themes)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Irrfan Khan, Katie McGrath, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus, Judy Greer, Andy Buckley
Year: 2015

 

By now, you probably don’t need for me to review this film, as it seems like the whole world has thrown their money at it. However, I went bonkers a couple years ago when the original film was re-released in theatres in 3D, prompting me to do a complete run through of the entire then-trilogy. As a result, I kind of feel obligated to review the latest one. Besides, some of you might be insane or too “hip” to buy into this dinosaur spectacle “nonsense” but might be thinking of giving it a go on DVD or something in what is, for me, the future, so, yeah, I’m here to help. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

August 29, 2014 2 comments
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Produced by: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Galen Walker, Scott Mednick, Ian Bryce
Written by: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
Edited by: Joel Negron, Glen Scantlebury
Cinematography by: Lula Carvalho
Music by: Brian Tyler
Starring: Megan Fox, William Fichtner, Will Arnett, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Tony Shalhoub, Danny Woodburn, Tohoru Masamune, Whoopi Goldberg, Minae Noji, Abby Elliott, Taran Killam, K. Todd Freeman, Paul Fitzgerald, Malina Weissman
Based on the comics by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman
Year: 2014

 

Full disclosure: Of all the nerdy things that I’m into, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was, incredibly, the one thing I never actually got into. I do recall that my first exposure to them was through the old Nintendo game when I was little and my friend brought over his NES sometime before I started kindergarten. I remember that was pretty fun, but I really had no broader understanding of what the franchise really was until I got went to school and made more friends, but I was already at a stage where I looked down on them as being pretty stupid. (The Power Rangers were way better, amiright?) So, by the time that I wised up and realized a silly concept doesn’t automatically negate something as being legitimately entertaining, I was still pretty much just ambivalent about the whole franchise and never cared to catch up to the hype train. That’s right – I’ve never seen anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle related beyond the video game and… maybe one or two episodes of the 1990s series. That is, until this past weekend. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Star Trek Into Darkness”

May 18, 2013 3 comments
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Produced by: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof
Edited by: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey
Cinematography by: Daniel Mindel
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldaña, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, John Cho, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Peter Weller, Anton Yelchin
Year: 2013

 

After years of anticipation, the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ bold new restart of the Star Trek film franchise is finally here. Though it was the eleventh film in the series, as the first film set in this alternate universe, it was also the franchise’s first step in an attempt to grab at a brighter future after years of the franchise taking a dive in both quality and creativity. With the promise of the series shedding years of expectations and established canon with a bit of time travel, 2009’s Star Trek brilliantly maneuvered the series into a position where it could once again surprise new audiences, Trekkies, and Trekkers alike. Read more…

Review: “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”

April 12, 2013 2 comments
The Lost World - Jurassic ParkDirected by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Gerald R. Molen, Colin Wilson
Written by: David Koepp (screenplay)
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Cinematography by: Janusz Kamiński
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Vince Vaughn, Richard Schiff, Peter Stormare, Vanessa Lee Chester, Arliss Howard, Harvey Jason, Thomas F. Duffy, Don S. Davis
Based on the novel The Lost World by Michael Crichton
Year: 1997

 

This review contains spoilers…

You know when I said in my last review, the one for the original Jurassic Park, that the characters didn’t matter so much, and how the big highlight was the collection of dinosaur sequences? Yeah… I didn’t entirely mean it. Case in point: The Lost World, the sequel to one of the most groundbreaking blockbusters ever. You might think that, given a few years and a bigger budget, the film would be even more magical — better effects, more dinosaurs, larger cast of characters. As is the way with these things, however, the film suffers from diminishing returns. Read more…

Review: “Jurassic Park” (IMAX 3D)

April 9, 2013 3 comments
Jurassic ParkDirected by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R. Molen
Written by: Michael Crichton, David Koepp (screenplay)
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, B.D. Wong
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton
Year: 1993 (2013 for IMAX 3D)

 

I know it’s a common sentiment and, therefore, hardly original, but it bears repeating multiple times until that sentiment is driven into the ground about this wondrous, marvelous film: IT’S SO FREAKING AWESOME! Read more…

Theatrical Review: “The Amazing Spider-Man”

July 9, 2012 4 comments
Directed by: Marc Webb
Produced by: Avi Arad, Laura Ziskin, Matt Tolmach
Written by: JamesVanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves (screenplay); James Vanderbilt (story)
Cinematography by: John Schwartzman
Music by: James Horner
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Chris Zylka
Year: 2012

 

A Foreword on the Reboot

Is it just me, or is cynicism the attitude of late with movie going audiences these days? I get that we’re starting to realize, more and more, that Hollywood, as a business, just really doesn’t care about the art, of their industry, or originality, or creativity as much as it does money, but, really, all the cynics should’ve realized this a lot sooner ’cause that’s how it’s always been. The attitude I’ve seen on internet discussions can hardly be called “jaded,” because there’s just too much hostility, less like a cry for higher quality entertainment and more like animosity towards any film that we really will know little about until they actually come out — primarily with films that involve the phrase “reboot.” It’s really all Christopher Nolan’s fault, to be honest. He had the audacity to reboot the Batman film franchise and turn it into gold, which in Hollywoodese means that everything must be given the gritty reboot treatment!

The reaction to his two Batman films has been largely positive, ecstatic, even, but with The Dark Knight Rises coming out soon, it seems like people are already hailing it as an inevitable letdown for some reason. Casino Royale was pretty much the first major franchise to be given the reboot treatment, and that worked out pretty well, too, though even that film had its critics — people who hated the film based on the blonde-and-blue-eyed Daniel Craig or its turn towards the gritty and serious, people who apparently longed for the days of gadgetry, Denise Richards, and James Bond in space, I suspect. Like with Batman, I’m already seeing people ready to see them crash and burn. People are apparently tired of revisiting old franchises and their stories all over again, despite the fact that they keep turning up for these films and convincing the studios otherwise. Perhaps the greatest affront to reboot-haters out there these days is the latest Spider-Man film.

Though they had their flaws, the Sam Raimi films created a largely appealing world for the Webslinger and had a largely fantastic cast in place. Scenes from the series — from the upside down kiss in the first film, the terrifying awakening of Doc Ock and the moving train sequence in the second, or even the overacted silliness of pretty much everything in the third (Peter strutting, emo Peter, James Franco’s hilarious delivery of the line “So good”) — all became iconic moments in superhero cinema. With this reboot, all that has seemingly been painted over, replaced with something new and unfamiliar masquerading as the old. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t among them for a while, but after the disastrous Spider-Man 3, I was willing to give it a chance, which is more than some were willing to give — there were actually those out there who were hoping that this would actually fail and teach Sony a lesson, largely due to the even more worrisome fact that Sony was more concerned about losing their hold on the Spider-Man license and allowing them to revert back to the now-Disney-owned Marvel.

Review

Despite being a reboot and, therefore, another origin story, The Amazing Spider-Man manages to cover enough new ground and present a familiar character and his world in new ways that it never feels like the film is aping the Raimi films while capturing that Spider-Man spirit. The continuity between the two franchises is non-existent — the stories of Peter’s spider bite and the death of Uncle Ben both get retold, as expected, but other than that, the new film is completely different in tone, style, and personality. The previous films took on a largely soap opera-like sensibility and a cartoon style for their action scenes and characterizations which emphasized their comic book origins, but director Marc Webb took this new series (and it will be a series, I assure you) in a more down-to-earth direction that manages to still be lively, retaining the heart and fun nature of the character and his world intact, though, as with the Raimi films, there are a few elements sacrificed along the way. Read more…

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