Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gotham (FOX TV)

I rarely watch network TV these days.  Not much has peaked my interest in the last decade or so.  In an earlier post I took a look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Well, a look back.  It was that type of show that has kept my interest.  However, most of the shows that would share a Buffy story line or style were not on network TV.

Fox, on the other hand,  has tried to work with the Buffy style.  Fringe, Firefly, and Dollhouse with Fringe lasting the longest.  Firefly and Dollhouse, both Joss Whedon creations, lasted just one season each.

Now we have Gotham.  Gotham is the prequel to the Batman universe.  So far I have only seen the first episode.  Waiting for the next to be available On-Demand.  Like I said, don't watch much network TV. 

The first episode follows Jim Gordon on his quest to be honest in a city where corruption is everywhere.  All the other cops have their hands in the till is someway and the criminals run the city. 

Jim Gordon takes on the task of trying to find the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents only to be led to the wrong conclusion.  That conclusion was a fence that was set up.  (The fence happens to be a college buddy of mine.  Good to see Danny getting bigger and bigger gigs.)

This first episode sets up what Jim Gordon is going to have to deal with.  Will be interesting to see how the characters are set up and how Bruce Wayne slowly goes on his quest to become Batman.  There has been a tease to that story line.

While some may want to avoid this show due to the comic book theme.  I have to say that the writing is not cheesy.  These stories have a lot of depth to them and the intrigue is fun to watch.  Set up the DVR or be a regular to your On-Demand access if you can't watch when scheduled.  I recommend this show.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Solomon Kane (2009)

Maybe it is me, but I liked this movie.  Solomon Kane is based on the books and short stories written by Robert E. Howard.  Howard is also the creator of the character Conan the Barbarian. 

For the purposes of this movie, Kane begins as a his tale as a mercenary bent on destruction.  However, once he learns that his soul has been claimed by the devil, Kane renounces violence and becomes a puritan.  Yes, his life as a pacifist does not last long.  Kane witnesses several members of the family that he has been traveling with be slaughtered and the daughter kidnapped, Kane goes on his quest to rescue the girl and redeem his soul in the process.

The most notable name in the film is Pete Postlethwaite as William Crowthron.  The man that helps Kane on a path to peace.  James Purefoy stars as Solomon Kane.  Game of Thrones fans will recognize one of actors in this film, but I will keep who that is to myself.

Solomon Kane is a decent sword and sorcery film.  I think if you are a fan of the genre that you will enjoy Kane.  A little dark.  The fight scenes are pretty good.  Solomon Kane is not a bad film if you like a enough story plot to be believable.  Give it a shot.  Currently on Netflix.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hellboy (2004)

Going to do a two-fer on this one.  Hellboy is another of the many comic book movies that have hit the screens in the last decade or so.  Did well enough for Hellboy II, but the two films did not garner a third. 

Hellboy is a demon summoned by Rasputin in the 1940's to try and win the war for Hitler.  Rasputin's plan is foiled and Hellboy is raised by Profession Bruttenholm.  Rasputin is resurrected to try and bring the end of the world.  And you can guess where the film goes from there.

Ron Perlman is charming as Hellboy and John Hurt is brilliant at anything he does.  The rest of the cast is good. However, the story is lacking a bit and the movie pacing lacks as well.  The comic book was popular enough to get people to the theaters.  My criticism here is that I don't feel that this film is good enough to watch over and over again.  And that is what you want from a movie like this.  People to buy the DVD, rent or watch on Netflix.  Yes, I watched on Netflix.

I mention Hellboy II in regard of it being watchable a second time.  Saw the movie once and really don't care to see it again.  If there is nothing else on TV and Hellboy II happens to be on, OK.  That being said, I might opt to find something else to do.  Hellboy II was really lacking a story.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Coriolanus (2011)

Was searching Netflix on what to watch next and ran across a bunch of Shakespeare films.  Coriolanus caught my eye first.  Two reasons.  First, I have not read, performed or seen this play yet.  Second, Ralph Fiennes stars and directs the film.

One thing about Shakespeare.  It is hard to do.  On stage and on screen.  Especially on screen.  The pacing of this film is slow.  You will need a lot of patience to get through it.  That being said, the performances are outstanding.  One of my issues with doing Shakespeare is that many actors cannot handle the language.  All the actors in this production handle the language well. 

The story itself is about a military leader of Rome that is asked to take civilian leadership and is ultimately banished due to his brutality on the battlefield and his lack of civilian subtlety. 

This film is placed in modern time and is crafty on how it handles the text and delivering the plot devices.  Meaning, if you have seen a Shakespeare play live, the descriptions of how wars and other actions off stage are delivered to the audience.  Very well done.

If you are a Shakespeare fan, you will love this film.  If you are a Ralph Fiennes fan, you will love this film.  While the pace is slow, this is a well crafted film. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Justice League (TV Series 2001-2006)

Yes, I am posting another animated selection.  This one, however, is a classic.  At least for me it is. 

As a long time fan of comic books, finding the TV equivalent was difficult for many years.  As a kid I had Super Friends.  Looking back on that show and the many others of the time, those shows were pretty bad.  However, as a kid I didn't know any better.

But things started getting better in the 90's.  Batman the Animated Series came out.  It was dark and more realistic and not campy or cheesy.  The Superman had his own series for a few seasons.  Then Justice League

Now there are two separate series that are part of the Justice League story line.  The first focuses on the main seven.  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, J'onn J'onzz, Flash and Hawkgirl.  The second season brings in many more heroes and follows a story line that involves Lex Luthor, the government and a clone.

This is a good entertaining series.  And if I can get my 7 year old daughter into the show, any parent that is a fan of the comic book world should be able to pass the enjoyment on to their kids. 

Now I know that the live action version of Justice League is coming out in a couple years.  Don't wait.  The animated Justice League is a good way to introduce your kids to the DC universe to get them prepared for what they will see when Justice League is finally released in live action.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Citizen Koch (2013)

Citizen Koch is a documentary about the Citizen United Supreme Court decision in 2009 and how money has influenced politics since then.  And the main beneficiaries of the Citizen United case has been the Koch Brothers.

Now I hate to get political, but with the 2014 midterm elections coming up the nation should be getting involved in some way.  Learning more about the candidates, the issues and registering to vote.  Whichever way you (as a reader of this post) lean politically, you have to admit that money has a corrupting affect on everything.  Most of all money corrupts the ability to lead effectively and effectively for all.

Watch this documentary.  I will say it is slanted as most documentaries are.  That being said, several of the people who were affected most happen to be republican.  What I think the ultimate point of this documentary is was to show that ALL citizens are affected by this court decision.  All levels of politics are now corrupted by high dollar donors.  And with the focus on Wisconsin, while the Gov Scott Walker and his campaign say that they are fighting union money trying to discredit them, the truth was that the money that came to his aid was in a ratio of 8 to 1.  Not exactly honest, but he is a politcian.

You can find Citizen Koch on Netflix.  With an election coming up very soon, might be a good time to see what the process is like these days.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is another one of those movies I just love.  Yes, I am a dork.  I freely admit this.  Roger Rabbit is just pleasant to watch. 

The late Bob Hoskins was absolutely wonderful in this film and Christopher Lloyd was pleasantly creepy and Judge Doom.

We follow the mystery of who killed Marvin Acme.  Acme was set to will Toon Town to the toons, but no one could find the will.  Eddie Valient (Hoskins) gets drawn in (no pun intended) to the intrigue. 

This is a rare film to watch because this movie is the only place where you would see Warner Brothers and Disney characters on the same screen.  How the producers pulled that off, I will never know.  Well, I could probably do the research, but would take to long.

Anyway, this is a wonderful film to share with the family if you have not already.  And yes, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is on Netflix.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tombstone (1993)

Tombstone (1993) starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer is another one of those films that is at the top of my list.  Not sure where it would be, but this is a film that I can easily watch over and over again. 

Based on the life of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and the wild west, Tombstone gives a glimpse of what life was like in the late 1800's.  The performances by the entire cast was excellent and the gunfights were masterful.

A version of Tombstone has been attempted several times.  Both before and after this version of the story.  I found this one to be the best and what I would say would be the most authentic.  The writing, direction and acting are outstanding. 

However, this version does not need a reboot.  Unlike Abyss and Krull where special effects could be improved and make the movies better if there were remade, Tombstone does not have that problem.  My opinion is that there is nothing about this film that would need improving.  This, I think, is the best version of the story.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mirage Men (2013)

Ok conspiracy theorists, this one is for you.  And for the UFO people as well.  Mirage Men is a documentary about how the UFO rumors and stories about Rosewell, NM and many others were perpetuated in the late 70's and 80's.

Turns out that is was all a ruse to get one guy to stop looking into things he was not suppose to be looking at.  Problem was that the guy started to believe what he was being told and ended up in an institution.

The documentary centers around one man, Richard Doty.  Doty was a counter intelligence office from the Air Force's OSI unit.  This man was paid to lie and obfuscate and, according to the documentary, did his job well.  Very well.

The information is this documentary is outlandish and at times hard to believe, but by the end it makes a lot of sense on how the public was lead to believe that we had aliens among us. 

Mirage Men is on Netflix.  Give it a shot.  They also talk about the cow mutilations.  That should be a hoot for you to watch.  Oh yeah, this documentary has won multiple award from various film festivals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

A friend of mine from high school could never get enough of the original Starship Troopers.  When I saw Starship Troopers: Invasion on Netlfix, I had to take a look. 

This is an animated film in the franchise.  Probably the best way to go forward if the franchise is to be continued.  However, this is not for kids in anyway.  Bare breasts are shown, cursing happens and lots and lots of blood and guts.  Again, even though this is animated, not for the kids.

The movie does bring in the three main characters from the original film.  Rico is now a general.  Carmen is a captain of a starship and Carl is still a researcher with psychic powers causing problems.  And that is where the movie goes with its story line.  Carl commandeers Carmen's ship, the bugs invade and lots of people die.  The twist here is that somehow the queen takes over the ship.  That is about all that I will say about the story.  Anymore and I will give away way too much.

The voice acting is pretty good.  The animation itself is ok.  Doesn't completely suck.  Has more of a video game feel to it.  If you want to see a good amount of digital death, this is the movie for you.  And as I said at the top, you can find this movie on Netflix.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dragonfyre (2013)

Why is it that almost every D&D style movie is bad?  Besides the fact that they have no budget, no one that can act and the script is beyond help...can they at least come up with some way for the film not to suck so bad?  Dragonfyre turned out to be a complete waste of time.

I knew going in that this was going to be horrible.  This was on a whole new level of bad.  The effects sucked, save for the one dragon they had.  That was not a bad job with the dragon CGI.  The rest...oh dear god.  The fight sequences were beyond sucky.  They really needed to teach these actors how to fight and hold the various weapons. 

And the story, portals between realms through a cave?  Well, it can work for Asgard and the Marvel Universe.  So, it might have worked here.  But geez. 

Now I know that we should be a bit more appreciative that an effort was made.  There is only so much that can be done with a script.  And the actors can only do what they are ultimately directed to do.  But people do need experience to possibly move on to the next level.  So, not seeing anyone move on to the next level here.  Well, one of the Orcs might, but the rest.  Hell no.

Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings - Return of the King

Aside from watching sword and sorcery, I really enjoy learning about the background of a writer, how a film was made and anything else that might seem interesting.  National Geographic's Beyond the Movie look at the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is quite interesting.

This documentary takes a hard look at some of the reasons possible that the Rings trilogy was written.  The parallels between the characters and history.  Plus, many other aspects.

With the Hobbit Trilogy soon to come to a close, this might be a film that you will want to look at.  So you know, I am an information geek.  When something interests me, I can go a bit overboard and learn way too much and become a bit savant like.

And as usual, you can find this documentary on Netflix.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Blacklist (TV-NBC)

Yes, binge watching again.  This time it is NBC's The Blacklist staring James Spader.  The premise of the show is wonderful and has such potential to wonderful dramatic mystery.  Only if there was mystery to it.

Well, I am not going to give anything away if you have not watched the series yet.  The first season is on Netflix.  From what I read, Netflix is paying a pretty penny for the privilege of streaming the show.  All that being said, the show on the whole is good.  Well acted and well directed.  The script writing needs some help.

After watching the first 3 episodes then jumping forward in the season to follow the husband as a possible spy story line, I figured out one of the major plot lines before it was really addressed.  Who is Liz's real father?

Figured that out within the first three episodes and confirmed in a later one that I watched.  Don't get me wrong, this will be a hit show for NBC for sometime, but keep things a mystery for a bit longer people.  Will ya?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Heavy Metal (1981)

Yes, I am a dork.  Can't help it.  Heavy Metal is a true cult classic.  The movie follows the Locnar (if I am spelling that correctly), a glowing orb that causes chaos through time and space.  Kind of like Sauron's ring in Lord of the Rings.  Where the stories and animation look and style came from is the graphic magazine of the same name, Heavy Metal.  Lots of boobs and other craziness for the demented person of the 1970's and 1980's.

This is not a film I would suggest sharing with the offspring.  While it is wonderful and the sound track is very early 1980's hard rock, the sexual content might not be something you want to share with your kids.  Wait until they go off to college, but not before then. 

As I said, I am a dork and this is a wonderful movie to watch and relive some of those altered nights with the friends watching very strange animation.  And it happens to be on Netflix. 

So, grab whatever gets you a bit altered and watch this classic.  Just make sure the kids are at a sleepover or something.  This might confuse them and you trying to explain what they saw will most likely fail.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Hobbit Trilogy

I have now seen two of the three in The Hobbit Trilogy, but after finally seeing Desolation of Smaug I wonder if a trilogy was needed.  The reason I say this is that I found a great amount of the film was left to travel shots and other scenery.  Don't get me wrong, Unexpected Journey and Desolation were beautifully shot.  However, the ending of Smaug was a let down.

If the movie had left off after (spoiler here) Smaug started to lay waste to Lake Town, then the name of the Movie would have made sense.  But that is not what happened and I am feeling very disappointed by the film.  The last thing I saw in Desolation of Smaug was the dragon flying away.  No destruction, no desolation, just disappointment.

Now don't get me wrong.  The first two films are wonderful and I will always recommend watching.  That being said, I think the same amount of detail to the story itself could have been done in a shorter period of time.  Could have condensed into one film, but two would have been better.  I think three was way too much and spent more on cinematography and less on the story.

I very much look forward to The Battle of Five Armies.  Again, this will be brilliantly shot and a visual wonder and we will finally get the conclusion we all know is coming.  But I still wonder if Peter Jackson stretched The Hobbit films out just because The Lord of the Rings was a trilogy?

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are very different in literary structure.  The Lord of the Rings was a three book trilogy.  The Hobbit was one book.  I never felt there was enough material for three films.

All this being said, I could be completely wrong in my assessment.  I will go back and watch all three movies once they are release in the trilogy set that you all know everyone will buy.  I will do a marathon day of watching The Hobbit Trilogy and then I will come back on here and most likely state that I am an idiot and ignore my earlier post about The Hobbit.  I just felt such a let down from the ending of Smaug.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Abyss (1989)

Abyss (1989) was another one of those sci-fi films that did not get a lot of respect in the theaters.  However, it did really well in rentals and on movie channels. 

Abyss follows a group of deep water divers searching for a lost submarine.  What they discover is some type of life form that can control water.  Of course there is deep conflict within the group between the military and civilian members.

As I mentioned with Krull, this is one of those films that should get a remake.  The difference between remaking Krull and Abyss is that I feel that Abyss could use some tweaking of the story.  The end of Abyss was a bit anticlimactic, but if they went with the original script the movie would not suck at all.

Abyss is not on Netflix at the moment.  Will probably have to be something you will have to buy online or be lucky and find it in a Best Buy or another store like that.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008)

About 2 or 3 years ago, I got my daughter into super hero animation.  We started out with the most recent Justice League series.  Not the new Justice League that were the sidekicks and Superboy, but the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series.  We have watched the various Marvel live action films and most of the DC animated movies.

What we watched recently was Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow.  Descendants of Captain America/Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther, Giant Man/Wasp and Hawkeye with the help of an elder Tony Stark and eventually Hulk look to end the rule of Ultron.

We both liked this movie.  My daughter is not nearly as versed in Marvel lore as I am, but she caught on quick to what was going and the movie did a lot to help fill in the past enough for her to understand what was going on.

The Pym character was a bit annoying, but tell me that we all didn't know someone like that as a kid.  Which pretty much stands for all the kid characters.  Trying to find their way in the world and making huge mistakes along the way.  They are kids, what did you expect?

Anyway, this would be a good movie to sit and watch with the kids.  Struggle and triumph win the day and can be a good moral lesson to talk with your kids about.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tomorrow When the War Began (2010)

I have decided that I will be watching more foreign films.  Tomorrow When the War Began is the Australian version of Red Dawn.  However, this version is really good.

Ellie and Corey decide that they want to have a friends only camping trip out in the bush.  After the trials of getting the group together all the teenagers try to impress each other.  Usual teenage stuff.  Then one night, several planes fly overhead.  However, unlike both versions of Red Dawn we do not see the carnage until the kids head back to town and find all their homes abandoned. 

Another difference between Red Dawn and Tomorrow is that there are no attempts to fight back until the end of the film.  This story deals more with the psychological state of the group and how they finally come to the decision to fight back.  Red Dawn was all about the action and showing that no matter what Americans will fight back no matter what their age.

I was very impressed with this film.  The acting was wonderful.  Storyline was very well thought out.  Wonderful cinematography and direction.  It was just well done.  Currently on Netflix and I say it is a must see.

Curse of the Dragon Slayer (2013, among many other titles)

Yes, I watched another sci-fi/fantasy film.  And Curse of the Dragon Slayer was bad.  First, the story really didn't have anything to do with dragons.  Second, the acting and script were pretty bad.  The special effects were cool and can we just say thank god for technology.  No longer need multi-million dollar set ups to make effects on people and scenery.

Anyway, if you enjoy bad fantasy films for a good laugh, you will get a kick out of this one.  I don't like giving too much away about a film, but there are so many holes in this script I am surprised it made any sense at all.  I will say the dwarves were funny and got a kick out of them, but that was about it.

You can find this on Netflix and be glad the Netflix bill covers all the good stuff that is coming to the service.  Not sure what else I can say about this film...or what else I want to say about this film.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Princess Bride (1987)

This has got to be in my top 5.  The Princess Bride has everything.  Yes, the movie can appear cartoonish.  Yes, the movie is a bit campy.  But here is the thing.  The fight scene between Westley (played by Cary Elwes) and Inigo (played by Mandy Patinkin) has no rival.  I have seen a lot of sword fighting over the years and this fight is the best. 

As you can see I will have nothing buy praise for this movie.  I recently sat my 7 year old daughter down to watch it with me and she absolutely loved it.  For a 7 year old, it was a bit scary in the fire swamp scenes and she really wanted Prince Humperdink to die.

I highly recommend this film be passed down generation to generation.  And yes, this truly is a film for everyone.  If you do not like this film, please seek therapy.

Oh, one other thing....it has Andre the Giant in to.  If you don't know who Andre is, look him up.

Again, brilliant film.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lost Girl (SyFy TV)

As you have probably noticed by most of the movies and TV that I have posted, I am a sci-fi geek.  I had heard from a couple friends that Lost Girl was a show that I should watch.  At one point I had caught a random episode and really didn't care.  But then, as usual, I saw that it was on Netflix and decided to give it another whirl.  This time from the beginning.

Ok, I got hooked.  The storyline is not bad.  The acting is a bit weak at times, but otherwise pretty good.  And I do have to say that the acting got better as the series went on.  And yes, I did some serious binge watching.  There are four seasons on Netflix at the moment.  The show producers have announced that there will be another season which will end the show.

Anna Silk plays Bo the sex crazed succubus that actually has a good heart.  Knesia Soto plays the best friend Kenzi.  They meet at a bar after a guy tries to drug Kenzi so he can get some nookie.  Then the insanity goes from there.

The show is produced in Canada.  Seems to be a bit low budget, but like I said this is a pretty fun show.  And again, I love me some Sci-Fi.  Throw in women in tight clothing and I am really happy.  Yes, I just had a sexist moment.  Please forgive me.  I am male.

If you have not watched this yet and you happen to be a Sci-Fi fan, hop on Netflix and give it a shot.  you might be pleasantly surprised.