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Guardians of the Galaxy Review

21 Aug 2014

GOTG-poster

Rating: ★★★★★

 

I don't remember a time when I enjoyed a movie as much as I did this one. From beginning to end it was by far one of the better Marvel movies  made to date.  Two things it had in its favor it was a high quality movie and second Disney did not stand in the way of this production leaving it as a Marvel feature. Which if you are a comic movie fan like I am bodes well for future productions. The movie itself ranked in the number one spot for a couple of weeks and remains a draw even now. The characters and actors playing them fit well together. I saw no flaws in the chemistry. CG's are what you expect from a Marvel / Disney production and even better in 3D. The script well it was not meant to be taking all that seriously but you can see that they kept a strong link to the Marvel Universe. You will or have seen characters that will in future Avengers or spin off character movies ( Capt America , Thor etc... ) will cross over leaving the question will there be a movie that is going to encapsulate all the worlds like they have done so many times before in comic book forms. Well I won't spend to much more time on my critique of the movie. Not much more to say then it was awesome . 5 stars flat out awesome. In other words "I AM GROOT".
Only one warning even though for the most part this is a family movie the language is strong enough to warrant a little precaution for little ones. Other then that its a must see for fans.

 

Starring
Chris Pratt
Zoe Saldana
Dave Bautista
Vin Diesel
Bradley Cooper
Lee Pace
Michael Rooker
Karen Gillan
Djimon Hounsou
John C. Reilly
Glenn Close
Benicio del Toro

Plot and Spoilers from Wikipedia which is dead on except that I have to say the Duck in the end of the synapsis was actually Howard the Duck

 

In 1988, following his mother's death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led byYondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, Quill steals an orb only to be intercepted by Korath, a subordinate to the fanatical KreeRonan. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.

When Quill attempts to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world Xandar, Gamora ambushes him and steals it. A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters: the genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, and the tree-like humanoid Groot. The Nova Corps arrives and arrests the group, imprisoning them in the Kyln. A powerful inmate, Drax, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with Ronan, who killed his family. Quill dissuades him by saying that Gamora can bring Ronan to him. Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb's power to destroy entire planets such as Xandar. Learning that Gamora has a buyer for the orb, Rocket, Quill, Groot, and Gamora work together to escape the Kyln.

Elsewhere, Ronan meets with the titan Thanos to discuss his daughter Gamora's betrayal and the loss of the orb. Accompanied by Drax, Quill's group escapes the Kyln in his ship—the Milano—and flee to Knowhere, a remote criminal outpost in space built in the giant severed-head of a celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan, while the rest of the group meet Gamora's contact, Taneleer Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing an Infinity Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Suddenly, Tivan's tormented assistant grabs the Stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs his collection.

Ronan arrives and easily defeats Drax, while the others flee by ship, pursued by Ronan's followers and Gamora's sister Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora's ship, leaving her floating in space, and Ronan's forces leave with the sphere. Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair. Rocket, Drax, and Groot threaten to attack Yondu's ship to rescue them, but Quill negotiates a truce by convincing Yondu that they can recover the orb. The group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they must stop him from using the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan's ship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the Stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos, threatening to kill him after the destruction of Xandar; hateful of her adopted father, Nebula allies with Ronan.

On Xandar, the Dark Aster is confronted by Yondu's fleet, the Nova Corps, and Quill's group, which breaches the Dark Aster. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet. Drax kills Korath, and Gamora defeats Nebula (who escapes) and unlocks Ronan's chambers, but the group finds themselves outmatched by his power until Rocket crashes the Milano through the Dark Aster and into Ronan. The damaged Dark Aster crash lands on Xandar, with Groot sacrificing himself to shield the group. Ronan emerges from the wreck and prepares to destroy Xandar, but Quill distracts him, allowing Drax and Rocket to destroy Ronan's warhammer. Quill grabs the freed Stone, and with Gamora, Drax, and Rocket sharing its burden, they use it to destroy Ronan.

In the aftermath, Quill tricks Yondu into taking a container supposedly containing the Stone, then gives the real Stone to the Nova Corps. As the Ravagers leave Xandar, Yondu remarks that it turned out well that they did not deliver Quill to his father. Quill's group, now known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, have their criminal records expunged, and Quill learns that he is only half-human, his father being part of an ancient, unknown species. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother; a cassette tape filled with her favorite songs. The Guardians leave in the rebuilt Milano along with a sapling cut from Groot.

In a post-credits scene, Tivan sits in his destroyed archive with two of his living exhibits: a canine cosmonaut and an anthropomorphic duck.

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Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

28 Jun 2014

Transformers_Age_of_Extinction_Poster.jpeg

Rating: ★★½☆☆

What can I say. Micheal Bay did it again. Transformers had ...Well Transformers thats a big plus. Splendid CG's. Terrific fight scenes. Plenty of action scenes. And a not so acceptable story with a bunch of whiney humans running around in a nonsensical dance screaming while shouting and complaining. I had high hopes with this sequel only to be let down by a new cast that seemed to have all the character traits in one way or another of the characters penned in the other three Transformers movies. A missed opportunity if you asked me. They could of set thing right with this bunch since they seemed to have a better chemistry then the first lot did. Even the story in this one was disjointed and very similar in the way it is laid out with previous movies. Matter of fact the story even though it varied in theme had some of the elements of the first movie. Let me explain ... Boy finds car in a junky condition. Man finds truck in junky condition. Boy has to save world and keep the all spark from the Decepticons. Man has to keep the seed from the new Decepticons. Bumblebee is called a junky looking car and scans a brand new Camaro and becomes that car. And so on and so on. Get where I am going here ?
There were so many little things to bug me on this endeavor that I had a hard time enjoying the film. But there were some high points too but they were muddled by some confusing story changes and inconsistent with the flow of the movie. Not that I mind differences in movies that vary from the original source material mind you. I have come to expect that when Hollywood pees on a beloved franchise to claim it as their own. But in this one there were to many WTF's going on here and why are you going in that direction. Here are just some examples of what I mean about moments that were great and then screwed up at the same time. I loved the Dinobots even though I thought their intro and the lack of a back story was counter productive. Reintroducing Megatron as Galvatron was cool even though the way he transformed was kind of ridiculous in the manner it would of made him and the other bots indestructible to attack yet they got hammered when they fought the the combined might of the Autobots and Dinobots. Thats just some of the pro/con moments.
Its hard to say with this movie. Being a die hard Transformer fan since the toons came out in the 80's I loved seeing the characters come to life. There were even some cheers from the audience at some points of the movie when that happened so I am not alone in that aspect. But I did not walk away from the theater with that I was blown away feeling I did with other movies I have previously seen.
In short I think Bay seems happy to cookie cut the franchise in way of its characters, action sequences, and even to a fashion the way the story tends to play out that bothered me the most. Like I said a waste of opportunity to hit this one out of the park. I am hoping that the sequel will make up for this clunker because the set up to the next one has again lots of potential. And yes I will be stupid enough to go see it even if its done like this one. Maybe that is why he keeps making the movies like these for people that are willing to plop down the money without question in hopes of seeing something better from the franchise. Its like being a Mets fan I guess. You hope for the best to always get disappointed.

Plot and spoilers from Wikipedia

The movie starts off with a spaceship entering the Earth at the time of the Cretaceous and leading the extinction of dinosaurs. Four years have passed since the final battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons left Chicago in ruins and claimed the lives of over a thousand civilians. The U.S. government has severed its ties with the Autobots and branded them as fugitives. An elite CIA unit called "Cemetery Wind" is formed by Harold Attinger with the intent of hunting down and exterminating the surviving Autobots with the aid of Lockdown, a Transformer bounty hunter. Meanwhile, using data obtained from destroyed Transformers, business tycoon Joshua Joyce and his technology firm Kinetic Solutions Incorporated (KSI) have discovered "Transformium", the molecularly unstable metal that is the lifeblood of Transformers. Joshua's prized creation is Galvatron, a Transformer created from the data inside Megatron's severed head under the supervision of a captured Brains.

In rural Texas, struggling robotics inventor Cade Yeager and his friend Lucas Flannery purchase an old semi-truck in hopes of stripping it down and selling the parts to get Cade's daughter Tessa into college. Cade discovers that the truck is an injured Optimus Prime, and it is not long before Lockdown and Cemetary Wind operatives led by James Savoy storm into the Yeagers' farm and threaten them. Optimus comes out of hiding to fend off against the operatives while Cade, Tessa, and Lucas are rescued by Tessa's boyfriend Shane Dyson, an Irish rally racer. They lose the operatives in a lengthy chase in Paris, Texas, but Lucas is killed by Lockdown's grenade during their escape. Using a drone he took during the raid, Cade discovers that the operatives and KSI are working together. Optimus rallies the remaining Autobots – Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs – and travel with their new human allies to infiltrate KSI's headquarters in Chicago. There, Cade, Shane, and Bumblebee discover the firm's reverse engineering of Transformer technology. Upon discovering that Ratchet has been slain and his head is being melted down, Optimus and the Autobots storm into the headquarters to destroy the laboratory and rescue Brains, but Joshua convinces them that their actions are futile and they are no longer relevant to this planet.

As the Autobots leave the premises, Joshua launches KSI's prototype Transformers Galvatron and Stinger. Optimus and Galvatron engage in a grueling battle where Optimus realizes that Galvatron is Megatron in a new body. Suddenly, Optimus is blasted from behind by Lockdown, and in the midst of the chaos, he and Tessa are captured and taken into Lockdown's ship. Aboard the ship, Lockdown explains to Optimus that the Transformers were created by a mysterious alien race known as the "Creators", which hired him to capture the Autobot leader. As a reward for Optimus' capture, Attinger's operatives are given the "Seed", a bomb that cyberforms any wide area of land if it explodes. Cade, Shane and the Autobots storm into the ship to rescue Optimus and Tessa; while Bumblebee, Crosshairs, and the humans escape and crash into downtown Chicago, the other Autobots detach the rear section of the ship before it leaves into space. Joshua and his business partners Su Yueming and Darcy Tyril retreat to Beijing, where Attinger hands Joshua the Seed in exchange for a stake in KSI control. The Autobots and their human allies follow them to prevent them from detonating the Seed.

At KSI's Beijing factory, Galvatron suddenly activates by himself and infects all 50 of the firm's prototype Transformer soldiers to do his bidding. Realizing the folly of his creations, Joshua betrays Attinger before he, Su, and Darcy take the Seed to Hong Kong. There, the Autobots struggle to protect Joshua and the Seed from Galvatron and his minions, which shoot down the Autobots' ship. Cade kills Savoy during a fight in an apartment building. Outnumbered and outmatched, Optimus Prime releases a group of legendary knights and leads them back to the city to destroy Galvatron's army. Lockdown returns to Earth and uses his ship's magnetic weapon to pull anything metal into his ship, in an effort to recapture Optimus. Optimus destroys the weapon and engages in battle with Lockdown before killing Attinger to save Cade. Lockdown grabs Optimus's sword and impales him, but the combined efforts of Bumblebee, Cade, Tessa, and Shane distract the bounty hunter before Optimus stabs him in the chest and slices his head in half. Galvatron retreats, vowing to battle Optimus another day. With Lockdown destroyed and Cemetery Wind dissolved, Optimus sets the Dinobots free before flying into space with the Seed, sending a message to the Creators.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review

21 Jun 2014

How_to_Train_Your_Dragon_2_poster

Rating: ★★★★½

 

One of the more enjoyable films of the year. Dreamwork's nailed this one. The story was heartfelt and warm even though there was a plot twist of a major character dying (Hiccups dad Stoick) which I did not see coming and had my little one grabbing me in tears. However there were also many enjoyable highlights like Hiccup seeing finding his mother was still alive and getting to know her along with some pretty great CG animated scenes which worked well in the 3D format.

I also was impressed with the moral message of this movie which lacks in some of these computer animated films. The message of peace, and price that sometimes has to be paid to preserve it, believing in yourself even though you find it hard to, and conquering the pressure of others that would try to control you and force you to commit something you normally would was well written and played out in the form of both Hiccup and his Dragon Toothless. Which btw my son actually understood. Like I said the message was written well in the form of Hiccup and Toothless who had to dig deep inside of themselves to find a courage and face their obstacles . Hiccup in the form of self doubt and how he can live up to his fathers legendary status and Toothless in the form of a Godzilla size dragon they called Alphas that controlled him and other dragons. Sort of Dragon peer pressure I guess one may say which one will admit can be Godzilla in size and hard to defeat. In the end it was their friendship and love for each other that gave them the strength to defeat not only their fears and lack of control but the enemy that threaten the peace of their land.

This is one of those must see family movies though I would caution parents of little ones to be prepared to answer some questions of life and death. Well no worse then you have to do with a Disney film.

 

Plot summary contains spoilers from Wikipedia

Five years after the Viking village of Berk has made peace with the dragons, dragons now live amongst the villagers as working animals and companions, and even take part in racing sport. Hiccup goes on adventures with his dragon, Toothless, as they discover and map unexplored lands and territories. Having come of age, he is being pressed by his father, Stoick the Vast, to succeed him as chieftain, although Hiccup remains unsure if he is ready for this responsibility.

While investigating a wildfire, Hiccup and Astrid discover the remains of a fort encased in a colossal ice formation and encounter a dragon trapper named Eret, who blames them for the destruction of his fort and attempts to capture their dragons for an insane conqueror called Drago Bludvist. The two riders return to Berk to warn Stoick about the dragon army that Drago is amassing, and Stoick orders the villagers to fortify the island and prepare for battle. Against Stoick's orders, Hiccup flies off with Astrid and they surrender themselves and their dragons to Eret so as to be taken to Drago in order to reason with him. However, Stoick, Gobber, and Berk's other dragon riders pursue and find them.

Stoick explains that he once met Drago and found him to be an unreasonable madman, but Hiccup refuses to believe that war is inevitable and flies off with Toothless. They are captured by a dragon rider named Valka, who is revealed to be Hiccup's long lost mother. She explains that she spent twenty years rescuing dragons from Drago's traps and bringing them to an island haven created out of ice by a colossal Alpha dragon called a Bewilderbeast, to whom all dragons answer. Stoick tracks Hiccup to the island where he discovers that his wife is still alive. Simultaneously, Astrid and the other riders kidnap Eret to find Drago, but they are also captured and Drago learns of Berk's dragons.

Drago and his army lay siege to Valka's sanctuary, where he reveals that he has his own Bewilderbeast to challenge the Alpha. A titanic battle ensues between the two Bewilderbeasts in a fight for control over all dragons on the island. Drago's Bewilderbeast emerges victorious and seizes control of all the dragons, including Toothless. Hiccup tries to persuade Drago to end the violence, but Drago orders him killed as well. Toothless, under the influence of the new Alpha, approaches Hiccup and fires a plasma blast. At the last instant, Stoick pushes Hiccup out of the way, and is hit instead, killing him instantly. Drago leaves Hiccup to his fate and, riding Toothless, leads his now larger army to destroy Berk. Stoick is given a ship burial and Hiccup, now filled with regret at the loss of his father, decides that he will fly back to Berk to defend his people and live up to his father's legacy.

The dragon riders ride baby dragons, which are immune to the Bewilderbeast's control, and arrive at Berk after the Alpha had already attacked the village and taken control of the dragons there. Hiccup confronts Drago and a brainwashed Toothless while the other riders work to distract the Bewilderbeast. Drago again orders Toothless to kill Hiccup, but Hiccup succeeds in disenchanting Toothless. Drago then orders the Alpha to shoot the pair, and the Bewilderbeast successfully encases them in a large blast of ice, seemingly killing them. His victory is short-lived, as Toothless, now glowing with plasma, blasts away the ice, revealing that both he and Hiccup are unharmed. Toothless challenges the Alpha and repeatedly fires plasma blasts at the Bewilderbeast. This frees the other dragons from the Bewilderbeast's control and all fire at it, severely injuring the colossal dragon until Toothless fires a final massive blast, breaking its left tusk.

Defeated, Drago and his Bewilderbeast retreat into the ocean as the villagers celebrate their victory. All the dragons acknowledge Toothless as the new Alpha dragon, and Hiccup is made chief of Berk by the village elder. The film ends with Berk being rebuilt with a statue of Stoick erected in his honor, and Hiccup doing his duties as chief, proudly declaring that while others may have armies and armadas, Berk has its own dragons.

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Godzilla 2014 Review

19 May 2014

Godzilla_(2014)_poster

Rating: ★★★★☆

What can I say the King of all Monsters is back in this epic movie. It was all that one could hope for in a big budge monster movie . There was Godzilla himself , buildings smashing , a rumble in San Francisco between heavy weights and people running. And there was even a decent story they led somewhere. The Americans for the most part got it right this time. It was good balance of plot suspense and fantasy. They even got the nuclear fire right . Kind of gave me goose bumps similar to that geeky feeling I got when I saw the Transformers for the first time and Optimus transformed. Yea I know sound nerdy but it was awesome.
There was some minor nit picking I could do. And now I will. The characters were some what lack lustered. Flat if you will. They could do with some little quick one liners or site gags to living things up as long as they kept it in the script and not just throw it in there like the 1998 version did. And the big guy himself could of been a little more in the film then he was. Not to much more. I think it was smart to make the story play out and not have it all about monster smash around. Some Godzilla films it gets to much of the big guy and they strive to keep the plot going. They end up fragmenting and going into this spiral of what you can tell is on the spot directors add ons. This one pretty much did not. It kept my attention and was really well done. It was a feast for the eyes .

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Star Trek Into Darkness Review

18 May 2013

220px-StarTrekIntoDarkness_FinalUSPoster

Rating: ★★★★★

When I go into a movie and sit down and get blown away from the opening scene till the end of the movie and leave with only being disappointed because it ended then I know I have seen something that will be a block buster and go down in the books as one of the greatest films ever. Star Trek Into Darkness was one of these films and without any exaggerations I would dare to say the best in franchise history. Not only was it great it was clever on how they played on the alternate universe both separating this version of Star Trek as distinctly different and at the same time being honest and truthful to the spirit of the original . Honestly I cannot find flaw in this one. Even with the recreation of Khans character which I usually cant stand. But JJ Abrahams and the writers have to be commended on their interpretation. The movie itself was a work of art visually and full of action that would excite even the non-trekies. The story arc was clever and full of poignant moments that brought a soul to the film. Especially the play on Kirks and Spocks characters. All in all this fill got five stars and if I could would give it more. It is so far the must see movie of the year. Other films would be hard press to out do this one.

Plot from Wikipedia . Be warn severe spoiler in this one.

Plot

The USS Enterprise is sent to the planet Nibiru to observe a primitive civilization. Captain James T. Kirk violates the Prime Directive when Spock's life is jeopardized, exposing the Enterprise to the planet's civilization during the rescue. Called back to Earth, Kirk is demoted to first officer and Admiral Christopher Pike re-assumes command of the Enterprise. The two attend an emergency meeting at Starfleet Command to discuss the bombing of a secret Section 31 installation in London, perpetrated by former Starfleet agent John Harrison. The meeting is attacked by a small gunship piloted by Harrison, who kills Pike. Kirk neutralizes the gunship, but Harrison flees. With Pike dead, Kirk is reinstated as the Enterprise's captain. Discovering that Harrison has fled to the Klingon homeworld of Kronos, Kirk receives special permission from Admiral Alexander Marcus to hunt down Harrison. The Enterprise is supplied with 72 long-range prototype photon torpedoes, and is ordered to fire them at Harrison's location once he is found, however Scotty, Spock, Bones and Uhura convince Kirk to capture rather than kill Harrison.
Arriving at Kronos, an away team comprised of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura land to find Harrison, but are surrounded by Klingons. Harrison wipes out the Klingons and confronts the away team, but surrenders after learning the precise number of photon torpedoes (Sulu claims to have) aimed at him. Returning to the Enterprise, Harrison reveals his true identity as Khan, a genetically engineered superhuman who was awakened from his 300-year cryosleep by Admiral Marcus to develop advanced weapons for war against the Klingon Empire. The torpedoes are found to contain cryogenic pods with his colleagues inside, held hostage by Marcus.
The Enterprise is soon intercepted by an unmarked Federation drednought, the USS Vengeance, designed by Khan and commanded by Admiral Marcus. Marcus demands Kirk hand over Khan, but Kirk refuses. The Enterprise warps to Earth to have Khan stand trial, but is attacked by the Vengeance mid-warp, exiting 237,000 km from Earth. With the Enterprise severely damaged, Kirk offers to hand over Khan and the 72 pods in exchange for the lives of his crew, but Marcus refuses and orders the Enterprise's destruction. The Vengeance suddenly suffers a power outage caused by Montgomery Scott, who had infiltrated the ship after following coordinates given by Khan to Kirk. Kirk allies himself with Khan and boards the Vengeance, where they take the bridge. Khan betrays Kirk and takes control of the Vengeance, killing Marcus.
Khan negotiates with Spock, beaming Kirk and his boarding party back to the Enterprise in exchange for the 72 torpedoes, planning to destroy the Enterprise. Spock instead beams armed torpedoes to the Vengeance, keeping the cryo-pods on the Enterprise, having learned from Spock Prime of his experience with Khan in his parallel time-frame beforehand and becomes aware that Khan is 'mad' and cannot be trusted. The torpedoes incapacitate the Vengeance, and both damaged ships start descending towards Earth. Kirk re-aligns the Enterprise's warp core, enabling the crew to regain control of the ship, but contracts fatal radiation poisoning in the process. The Vengeance crashes in downtown San Francisco, where Spock pursues Khan on foot. Leonard McCoy experiments on a Tribble discovering that Khan's blood may save Kirk, while Uhura aids an enraged Spock in subduing Khan.
In the aftermath, Kirk is revived and returns to duty as captain of the Enterprise. Khan is sealed into his cryogenic pod and stored away with his colleagues. As the film ends, a restored Enterprise is re-christened and departs for a five-year mission of exploration.

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