Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Frankenstien.....and I am not as bad as people think

      Super natural and super hero are the hot films to produce in Hollywood. I Frankenstein is the latest offering. Delayed releases, negative word of mouth, and not exactly house hold names in lead roles, and now it finally hits theaters. The I-MAX 3D isn't necessary, but it is cool. I remember when Underworld came out and it was better than expected so I went into this movie with an open mind.

     Frankenstein's monster is created and damned. He is full or rage and hunted by demons. We quickly learn that the world is populated with demons and the humans are defended by gargoyles who save the monster and offer him a place in their war. He declines and enters a self imposed exile. He decides to begin hunting the demons and 200 years later is caught up in a war to save humanity. He meets a scientist that is trying to recreate the experiments that gave him life, but it's her contributions that could be the key to the demons winning the war.

   Sounds complex, but it's actually very easy to follow. The film is based off a graphic novel that most of us have not read. Kevin Grevioux was one of the writers of Underworld and he is the same here. The movie definitely feels like Underworld. The tones, the cast, and the overall feel are very similar, but it's not a bad thing. If nothing else, the concept is cool.

   The gargoyles are easily one of the coolest things in the movie. It could stem from the fact that I loved the Disney cartoon and I loved the approach to them. The effects aren't perfect, but they are certainly serviceable. Miranda Otto is the queen and she is a little bland, but she does the best with what she is given. I never really felt enough emotion given her situation. Jai Courtney, who most will remember from Spartacus, finally gets a decent role. He is much better here than in the awful Die Hard sequel he was cursed with.

   The cast isn't bad. Bill Nighy is always a good villain. I wish he had more to work with. I kept picturing him as Victor from Underworld. I know that's probably because he was, but his character just falls a little short compared to his other roles. Aaron Eckhart as Frankenstein was an interesting choice, but it works. He is in fantastic shape and pulls off this version of the character very well. I liked the look of the film. It is a dark and gritty world and share the visual qualities that I liked about Underworld.

   The concept of Frankenstein is a much cooler version than what we've seen before. It attempts to make the character hip. He isn't a speech impaired, semi intelligent freak of nature. He is cursed, but his creation allowed for him to have certain powers and introduces us to a new world. It has some similarities to things we've seen before, but I give them credit for trying to be different.
   It's a little Van Helsing, a little more Underworld, with a hint of Blade. It's not your grand fathers Frankenstein monster. It will probably continue to be bashed by fan boys because they want everything to be exactly to there liking. Probably why they still spend so much time in their parents basement. Sorry. Command center. It's not for everybody, but I Frankenstein is a good way to forget about life for a couple of hours.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jack Ryan...For A New Generation

    For those who grew up in the 90's, most of us remember Harrison Ford bringing Jack Ryan to life in Clear And Present Danger and Patriot Games. Ben Affleck was cast a few years back to reboot the franchise, but it didn't quite work as well as they hoped.  The analyst turned C.I.A. field op is back in another reboot. Is the audience ready and will it work?


    Chris Pine is takes over the role from Affleck and Ford. We meet Jack as a college student who gets patriotic and joins the Marines after the events of 911. He is injured and goes back to finish his PHD and is recruited by the C.I.A. He takes a cover as a Wall Street Exec and uncovers a plot to destroy the American dollar. He is mentored by Kevin Costner and tries to balance his secret life as an agent with his personal life  life. His girlfriend becomes involved and after they head to Moscow to prevent the fall of our economy, his life gets even more intense.


  The film isn't without flaw, but that's OK. The cast is really good. I am truly a fan of Chris Pine. He's like able, believable in action roles, and has genuine charisma. He gives an, "average Joe," quality to the character that is really enjoyable to see on screen. Kevin Costner is great in the mentor role. Costner seems to be picking the right roles these days. He is easily believable as the chiseled agency veteran and has great chemistry with Pine. It is Kira Knightly that does it for me. I never liked her in the Pirates films, but she truly feels part of this. She is simple, but beautiful and there is something about her fake American accent that I liked.

   The film isn't overly difficult to follow. It is not overly thrilling or explosive, but it just works. Kenneth Brannagh keeps the story simple to follow and doesn't waste a lot of the movie goer's time. It's a fun ride with serviceable villains and a decent plot. It's not your dad's Jack Ryan, but that is OK. I would have loved to see a Harrison Ford cameo, but I didn't leave disappointed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let's Talk More Than Just About .....Her

I am sorry it has taken me so long to write my review for this movie. It has been a bit of a chaotic new year so far. I am still not sure how to react by this film. The effect is so profound that I have decided to blog beyond a review.

In regards to the film, a man essentially falls in love with his life like “Siri” app and struggles with that relationship. The film has a very 80's “Elementary School, color palette. It is almost like some kind of strange futuristic world, but we are supposed to believe it is now. It isn't a bad movie, but it felt like I was intruding on someone's private chat conversation. Maybe that was the goal.

Her is a very interesting movie in the sense that it provides a very sad look at what our society is becoming. Loneliness is a vicious creature. We all want to be with someone. Companionship is such a basic human need and yet there are plenty of people who have no one. I had lunch with a former intern who declared that meeting online is the new millennium way of dating. I truly hope not.

You can find sites all over the place and millions of people use them. We sit at our computers, we type, we text, we do anything but have physical conversations. I have never been a fan of online dating. I am a firm believer that we hide who we really are to create illusions of who we want to be. Online, a person can be anyone and we play this ridiculous fantasy role playing game.

There are so many predators out there and yes they exist in all walks of life, but they seem to be more prominent in the digital world.

There are those who argue that feelings are real and they may very well be, but I don't want to date someone I can't touch. People will say that they met online and are still together. To them I say, congratulations! I could dive into the psychological traits of the people who meet online, but it would probably become insulting and that isn't my goal.

I admit that it can be difficult meeting people if you move to a new town and some would say that meeting in bars can be worse. Agreed, but I go back to touch. The comfort of a simple hug, the kiss after a long day, holding hands while crossing a parking lot, and a hundred other examples are such an important part of the deal. The eyes are the window to the soul and can be hidden so well over a web cam or keyboard.

Technology is great, but something has been lost. The face to face conversation. People are free to do what they want, but I say lets be bold. Go out and actually talk to someone. Get to know them over time or make a mistake and find out the hard way. That is innovative. Physically touch them, see for yourself what they like and dislike, learn how they handle situations, and live life beyond the four walls that you live in. Loneliness is brutal, but being afraid to live life is much worse. Fantasy is fun and we all role play, but when it comes to dating.....learn how to unplug.