adventure, animation, comedy, movie, movie review

October 21st, 2018 Movie – Ice Age

ice age

The one good thing about being a kid at heart is that you can still enjoy watching an animated movie. I admit, I will still go see animated movies in theaters because there really is something about watching cartoons on a big screen that just makes the day feel better. Well, today’s movie is one such movie that I saw in theaters. When this movie came out, I was a few months away from getting married and the stress of that plus school was getting to my fiance. So when I went down to Savannah for a visit, we went out to a movie and I suggested Ice Age because it would be light hearted and fun so she could just enjoy the movie, which we both did.

The plot: A sabre-toothed squirrel named Scrat is trying to find a place to bury the acorn it is carrying but as he tries to force it into the icy ground, he causes a massive crack to appear in the ice, causing part of the mountain to break off and slide towards him. Scrat grabs his acorn and barely manages to avoid getting crushed by the ice, but ends up sliding down the mountain to the ground below. As he recovers from the fall and grabs his acorn, he is stepped on by a herd of animals that is moving south to avoid the snow and ice from the oncoming Ice Age. As the herd is moving south, a surly woolly mammoth named Manny is moving against the herd and heading north, saying it will be quieter with all the other animals gone. Meanwhile, a sloth named Sid wakes up to discover that his friends had all left on the migration without him. As Sid prepares to leave, he steps in the feces of an animal that had passed by and starts wiping it off his feet, ruining the meal of a pair of Brontops named Carl and Frank in the process. When Carl and Frank chase after him, Sid runs into Manny and hides behind him, forcing Manny to deal with the two Brontops. Sid thanks Manny but inadvertently knocks them both off a cliff and with the Brontops still wanting to injure him, Sid decides to follow Manny, despite the fact that he is heading North. As night falls, Manny makes a shelter while Sid tries to make a fire but when he fails, he tries to ask Manny to let him stay in his shelter but Manny turns his back on him and goes to sleep, while Scrat is seen still trying to hide his acorn. Elsewhere, Soto, the leader of a pack of smilodons, is watching a tribe of humans and makes plans with the rest of his pack to attack them at dawn, telling another smilodon named Diego to grab the leader’s baby, as he wants to kill it as revenge for the tribe’s killing half of their pack. At dawn, the smilodon’s attack the camp and while Soto and the others keep the humans busy, Diego sneaks into the tent to grab the baby but the mother grabs the baby and runs for it and ends up jumping over the falls to escape Diego. Diego tells Soto what happened and Soto tells him to find the baby and bring it to Half Peak or else Soto will kill Diego instead. Later, Manny and Sid are walking by the river when they see the mother clinging to a log near the bank. Seeing Manny, the mother pushes the bundle containing the baby towards him and Manny pulls the baby to safety but when he and Sid look up, they find that the mother has disappeared down the river. Manny turns to leave and Sid chastises him for leaving the baby and, seeing smoke at the top of a cliff, says he will take the baby back to it’s tribe. Manny watches as Sid tries to scale the cliff with the baby but when the baby starts to slip out of it’s blanket, Sid yells for Manny to catch it only for Diego to leap up and grab it. Manny grabs the baby from Diego, who tells them that the humans have left already and tries to convince them to let him take the baby back to them but Manny is wary of Diego and decides to go with Sid to take the baby back. When they reach the camp site and find it empty, Diego tells them that he can track the humans to Glacier Pass, where they have a settlement, and get the baby there before it closes up with snow but Manny still doesn’t trust him and hands the baby to Sid while telling Diego to lead the way. As they make their journey, the baby starts crying and after checking to make sure it hadn’t pooped, they realize it is hungry. Seeing a melon nearby, Manny goes to grab it but it is snatched away by a dodo and taken to it’s flock, where they are preparing for the coming Ice Age. The group tries to get the melon back from the dodos and Sid eventually succeeds but then smashes it on the ground, where the baby proceeds to eat it. That night, Manny has the baby wrapped in his trunk and Diego attempts to swipe it but when he hears something in the nearby grass, he goes to attack it and encounters two members of his pack. The other smilodons tell Diego that Soto is growing impatient and Diego tells them that he will bring the baby to Half Peak, along with a mammoth, and to get the whole pack there to take him down. The next morning, Manny and Diego wake up to find Sid and the baby are missing. Manny discovers Sid with the baby in a hot spring, where he is using it to pick up two female sloths. Manny takes the baby from Sid, who pleads with Manny to let him use it, but when Manny refuses, but boosts Sid confidence in himself, Sid returns to the hot spring only to find Carl and Frank in it instead. Sid runs from the Brontops and finds Diego, then gets him to help pretend that Diego has killed Sid in order to get the Brontops to leave. The group continue heading to Glacier Pass, with Diego hiding evidence of Soto and the other smilodons heading there as well, then flicking Scrat away when he tries to warn Manny and Sid about them. As they get close to Half Peak, Diego sees the humans nearby but convinces Manny and Sid to take a shortcut through a mountain pass, accidentally causing an avalanche that seals them in. As they make their way through the icy cavern, passing by several frozen animals (and a UFO), the baby ends up getting knocked off Manny’s back and slides down a ice chute. The animals all chase after it and Manny eventually catches the baby as they all smash through a snow drift. They enter another cave where the humans have painted cave drawings on the walls. As Sid is looking for paintings of sloths, he spots some paintings of a family of mammoths and points them out to Manny. Manny stares at the pictures, thinking of his own family that he had lost and as the baby grabs his trunk and hugs him, Manny places him gently back on his back and walks away, with Sid and Diego understanding his desire to be alone now and sadly following after him. Meanwhile, the human’s leader is attempting to track his baby but his wolves lose the scent and they are forced to turn towards Glacier Pass. Manny and the others exit the cave and spot Half Peak and Glacier pass in the distance but as they keep walking, an eruption occurs, melting the ice around them. Sid and Manny manage to make it across the ice bridge but when Diego leaps for the other side, he doesn’t make it and starts to fall. Manny saves Diego and tosses him to safety but the ice under his feet ends up breaking off and he falls into the magma below, only to be shot up when the ice acts like a geyser upon hitting the lava. As Manny recovers, Diego asks why he saved him and Manny tells him that a herd is supposed to look out for one another. As they reach Half Peak, Diego starts to change his mind about leading them into danger and warns them about the ambush. Manny is angry and tells Sid that they will figure a way out but Diego says that he is their only chance. Diego goes ahead and rejoins the pack and Soto tells them to wait until they see the mammoth before they attack but Diego convinces one of them to attack as soon as he sees Sid. Sid manages to elude the smilodons for a while but when he drops the baby, the smilodons realize that it is a decoy. Three of the smilodons chase after Sid only to be surprised by Manny and are knocked down a ledge. Diego says they should leave now but when Soto shows up and tells Diego to help him attack Manny, Diego stands between them. Soto and Diego fight while two other smilodons keep Manny at bay and Diego ends up being injured. When Soto turns his attention to Manny and tries to kill him, Diego leaps in front os many and takes the killing blow himself. Soto turns his attention back to Manny but when Sid shows up with the baby, Soto gets distracted and Manny knocks him aside, where some falling icicles kill him. The rest of the pack runs off and Manny, Sid, and the baby approach Diego, who says he had to return the favor from when MAnny saved his life before he falls silent. Manny and Sid continue moving forward and finally catch up to the baby’s father, returning the baby to him. The father hugs the baby and Manny and Sid turn to leave but the bay cries out to them. The father sets the baby down and he walks over to hug Sid and Manny and after Manny gives the baby back to his father, the father puts a necklace on Manny’s tusk to thank him. The humans leave and as the baby waves goodbye, he suddenly starts playing peek-a-boo. Manny turns to find that Diego had survived and he waves goodbye to the baby before Sid happily tackles him and the group start heading South. 20,000 years later, Scrat is seen to be frozen in a block of ice while he was chasing his acorn. He ends up on an island and as the ice melts, Scrats acorn is washed. A frustrated Scrat smashes his head into a tree, causing a coconut to fall to the ground and as an excited Scrat tries to bury it, he causes a crack to form in the ground which expands and ends up causing the nearby volcano to erupt.

Ice Age met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own.” Though Scrat was designed as a fictional animal, in 2009, scientists in Argentina unearthed the remains of a small, extinct mammal resembling a shrew with long fangs. This animal was given the scientific name of “Cronopio Dentiacutus”, in tribute to Scrat. The movie was a box office success, earning $383.3 million off of a $59 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels that would bring in a combined revenue of $3.2 billion for the franchise.

This is a really good, non-Disney animated movie. The voice acting was great, with Ray Romano (Manny), John Leguizamo (Sid) and Denis Leary (Diego) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was honestly not too original, as it really felt a lot like Monsters, Inc., which had come out the year before. However, the idea of the different animals grouping together to care for and return the baby to it’s family was very touching. Personally, I liked the brief segments featuring Scrat the best, as the slapstick antics as he kept trying to get his acorn hidden really had me laughing. The animation was really good and I liked some of the digs at modern society that got thrown into the movie, such as the Stonehenge structure and Sid wanting Global Warming to start happening. All in all, this is a fun movie to watch, whether it is with your kids or just by yourself.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, animation, comic book, movie, movie review

October 9th, 2018 Movie – Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Another free movie for signing up for a service. Got to love how that works out. Anyways, I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy watching cartoons, whether it be a TV show or an animated movie. Now with Disney pretty much owning the rights to Marvel, you just knew at some point that there was going to be an animated move based on a Marvel comic book. However, while Disney has done several cartoon shows on Disney and Disney XD based on the more popular characters, their first feature film focused on a lesser known comic. My guess is that since the live action MCU was doing so well, they didn’t want to risk turning people away from those movies. Whatever the reason, there was an animated super hero movie in theaters and I for one couldn’t wait to go see Big Hero 6.

The plot: In the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, 14 year old Hiro Hamada participates in an illegal robot fight, hustling the champion Yama out of his money. When Yama grabs Hiro’s bot and tells his men to teach him a lesson, Hiro is rescued by his older brother Tadashi, who chastises him about participating in illegal fights, just before they get arrested by the police. The boy’s aunt Cass bails them out, the chastises both of them, as she had to close her cafe down early to bail them out. When Hiro plans on going to another bot fight, Tadashi says he will take him there but instead, takes him to the science lab at his university. At the lab, Tadashi introduces Hiro to his friends and classmates (Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred) then shows Hiro the project he is working on, a robotic nurse named Baymax. Hiro is impressed with Tadashi’s project and when he learns that Professor Robert Callaghan, who is one of Hiro’s idols in robotics, is Tadashi’s teacher, Hiro begs Tadashi to let him know how he can get in to the university. Tadashi tells Hiro that Callaghan has a contest every year and the kid who impresses him the most gets in but when Hiro sits down to come up with an idea, he draws a blank. Tadashi tells Hiro to not give up and Hiro eventually comes up with an idea for the expo. When they get there, Tadashi and all his friends wish Hiro luck and he presents his invention, microbots. Hiro amazes the crowd when he shows everything the microbots can be used for and after his presentation is done, he is approached by Alistair Krei, the CEO of Krei Tech. Krei wants to buy the microbots from Hiro but when Callaghan tells him that he doesn’t trust Krei, Hiro tells Krei that they aren’t for sale. Callaghan tells Hiro he has been accepted to the school and Aunt Cass says she will treat everyone to dinner at the cafe. Tadashi tells her he and Hiro will join them in a bit, then he pulls Hiro aside to talk with him. Suddenly, they hear alarms going off and people screaming and they turn to find the expo is on fire. When he learns that Callaghan is still in there, Tadashi goes in to help him and Hiro decides to go as well but he is knocked back when the building explodes, killing both Callaghan and Tadashi. Several weeks later, Hiro has fallen into a state of depression over Tadashi’s death, refusing to register for his classes. As he is moping in his room, he stubs his toe and accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to assist Hiro. Hiro tries to get Baymax back in his case but during the process, discovers one of his microbots in his hoodie he was wearing at the expo. The microbot seems to be trying to go somewhere but Hiro says that it must be broken as the other microbots were destroyed. Baymax takes the microbot and decides to see where it is trying to go and Hiro chases after him, eventually reaching an abandoned warehouse. Deciding to head inside, Hiro discovers that someone is mass producing his microbots when the microbots suddenly activate and attempt to attack them. Hiro and Baymax try to run away and see a man in a kabuki mask controlling the microbots, just before they are shoved out a window. Baymax saves Hiro and they go to the police to report what happened but Baymax begins running out of power and Hiro leaves, as he doesn’t want Aunt Cass to know he didn’t sign up for college. When he gets home, Hiro realizes that the man in the kabuki mask had set the fire at the expo to cover up his stealing Hiro’s microbots. Wanting to bring the guy to justice in order to avenge Tadashi, Hiro decides to use Baymax to accomplish the task, downloading karate onto a memory chip and inserting it into Baymax, then fashioning him a suit of armor. Hiro and BAymax use the microbot to track the killer, finding him at the docks but before they can attack him, they are confronted by Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred, who had been contacted by Baymax earlier. When the man in the kabuki mask attacks them,  Hiro tells the others to let him and Baymax handle him but Baymax is overpowered and the others grab Hiro and force him to leave with them. They kids attempt to escape but end up crashing into the ocean, only for Baymax to save them all. Trying to figure out where they should go, Fred takes them to his home, which is a mansion, and he reveals that his parents are rich. Hiro tries to figure out what the symbol on the item the kabuki man was carrying means and Fred says that it is probably Krei, as he had attempted to buy the microbots at the expo. Hiro decides to go after the kabuki man again and the others agree to help so Hiro works on designing them all super hero outfits and weapons. After testing everyones’ super suits, Hiro takes off with Baymax and tests his new armor, then scans the city to locate the kabuki man, finding him on an isolated island. The group heads out to the island and as they look around, they discover that the island was once a test lab for Krei Tech. The find video showing that Krei was testing a teleportation device but an accident occurred and the test pilot disappeared through the portal. Suddenly, the kabuki man attacks them and they attempt to get the mask away from him, as Hiro says that it is what is controlling the microbots. Hiro manages to knock the kabuki mask off the man only to discover that it is Callaghan, not Krei. A shocked Hiro asks Callaghan how he survived and Callaghan tells him he used to microbots to survive the explosion, telling Hiro that Tadashi’s death was his own fault. Enraged at the betrayal, Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan, taking out his healthcare chip in order to allow Baymax to attack without mercy. Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred try to stop Baymax and succeed when Honey Lemon puts the healthcare chip back in Baymax but doing so allows Callaghan to escape. Hiro is upset at the others and leaves with Baymax, hoping to repair his scanner so they can find Callaghan. When Hiro attempts to remove the healthcare chip again, Baymax refuses to let him, asking if this is what Tadashi would want and showing Hiro video of Tadashi as he was building Baymax. Go-Go and the others show up at Hiro’s garage and Hiro apologizes to them. Honey Lemon tells Hiro they found something on the island and pulls out a flash drive, which shows that Callaghan was at the teleportation testing. When they scan through some of the other video files, they realize that the test pilot was Callghan’s daughter Abigail and that he blames Krei for her death. At Krei Tech, Callaghan attacks Krei and then reveals that he has grabbed the portal and puts it back together, causing it to begin sucking Krei Tech into it. Hiro and the others show up and try to get Callaghan to stop but when he refuses, they go on the offensive. Callaghan is able to capture them but Hiro comes up with a new plan, getting the microbots sucked into the portal so that Callaghan no longer has a weapon to use. The plan works and they are able to stop Callaghan but the portal is still active and Krei says there is no way to stop it. Hiro says that they should run but Baymax says he detects life coming from within the portal and Hiro realizes that Abigail is still alive so he jumps onto Baymax and they head in to save her. Making their way through the portal, they eventually find Abigail’s ship and head back to the portal but when some debris is heading towards them, Baymax shield Hiro and Abigail’s ship with his own body. Baymax’s armor is damaged and when he notices the portal is closing, he tells Hiro that there is another way to save him, placing his rocket fist into the ship’s engine. Hiro doesn’t want him to do this, as he doesn’t want to lose Baymax, but Baymax says he will always be with him so Hiro reluctantly deactivates Baymax, just as he launches his rocket fist. Hiro makes it through with Abigail, just before the portal explodes, and when the others ask about Baymax, Hiro shakes his head no. Callaghan is arrested as Abigail is sent to a hospital for treatment while Hiro and the others leave the scene. Some time later, Hiro has taken over Tadashi’s lab at the university and as he places Baymax’s rocket fist on a shelf, he sees the healthcare chip in the fist. Realizing what this means, Hiro rebuilds Baymax and when he is activated, the two hug. Hiro and Baymax continue to act as superheroes to the city, with the others joining them and calling themselves Big Hero 6. Some time later, Fred is talking at a picture of his dad when he discovers a hidden room full of superhero equipment and when his dad shows up in the doorway, Fred hugs him as his dad says they have a lot to talk about.

Big Hero 6 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.” According to Scott Watanabe, the movie is set in an alternate future where after the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using techniques that allow movement and flexibility in a seismic event. After the city was finished being rebuilt, it was renamed San Fransokyo due to it being a city with Japanese and American architecture combined. Big Hero 6 was the highest grossing animated movie of 2014, earning $657.8 million off of a $165 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

This is such a great movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit doing great jobs as Hiro and Baymax respectively. All of the other characters were equally good but I loved the cameo of Stan Lee being Fred’s dad, and the fact that they made him look like Stan Lee was even better. The story was really good, showing a lot more depth than I honestly would have given Disney credit for in a super hero movie. I loved the character development they showed with Hiro, going from reckless teenager to responsible kid, from wanna-be superhero to an angry, revenge seeking kid and back again. Hiro’s development drove the movie almost as much as the main story itself. The animation was great and some of the background animation and scenery was incredibly vivid and colorful. A great Disney movie that is well worth watching and definitely one that will end up being one of their all time greats.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review

March 30th, 2018 Movie – Tucker & Dale Vs Evil

tucker and dale vs evil

Every now and then, an absolute gem of a movie will appear out of nowhere that you absolutely fall in love with. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. A few years ago, I was bored and suffering from a bout of insomnia so I decided to do what I normally do when I find myself in that situation; read something or watch Netflix. This particular night, Netflix won and I was going through my choices when I came across this movie. My mistake was definitely in watching this thinking it might put me to sleep because I wound up laughing so hard, I ended up staying up the entire night. So let’s end this work week with some laughs as I watch today’s movie, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil.

The plot: A news reporter and her cameraman are at a crime scene hoping to find something the police missed when they are attacked by a man with a badly damaged face. 3 days earlier, a group of college kids (Allison, Chad, Chloe, Chuck, Jason, Naomi, Mike, Mitch, and Todd) are going camping in the West Virginia mountains but are disturbed by a pair of hillbillies, Tucker and Dale, who pass them on the road. When the kids stop at a gas station to buy some beer, Dale becomes infatuated with Allison and Tucker tries to get him to go talk to them. Trying to take Tucker’s advise, Dale heads over to try and talk to Allison and the other women but ends up creeping them out before Chad warns him to stay away. As Tucker and Dale head up to the vacation home that Tucker bought and plan on renovating and when a cop pulls them over for a busted turn signal, he tells them that only death and suffering are up in that area. When they arrive at the cabin, Tucker and Dale head inside and are amazed at what they find, paying no attention to the newspaper clippings of a massacre that happened. Meanwhile, Allison and the others are sitting by their campfire when Chad starts telling them a story about the Memorial Day Massacre that took place in the area, where some hillbillies attack and kill some college kids, leaving only one survivor. When they discover a lake close by, they decide to go skinny dipping and Chad attempts to get close to Allison but she rebuffs his advances. Meanwhile, Tucker and Dale are doing some night fishing when they see Allison taking her clothes off on a rock. Dale covers his eyes and yells at Tucker for continuing to stare, which startles Allison and causes her to fall off the rock. When she doesn’t surface, Dale dives in to rescue her and Tucker helps him put her into the boat. Chloe and Chuck see them and, misunderstanding what is happening, think that Tucker and Dale are kidnapping Allison and go running back to their camp, despite Tucker yelling for them to come back. Tucker and Dale take Allison to their cabin and in the morning, Dale explains what happened and how her friends left her. Meanwhile, Chad is leading the search for Allison while Chuck goes to get the sheriff. When they find the cabin, they decide to send Mitch in to see if she is there. As Mitch approaches the cabin, Tucker is around back using a chainsaw to cut through a log when he cuts into a bees nest inside. Tucker goes running around, swinging the chainsaw wildly, and Mitch thinks he is psychotic and yells for the others to run as Tucker heads towards them. As Tucker goes running through the woods after Mitch, Mitch ends up impaling himself on a tree branch, while Tucker continues to run off. Back at the cabin, Dale and Allison have started talking and are playing trivial pursuit when Tucker returns, complaining about Dale not helping him. When Tucker says he saw one of Allison’s friends and she wants to go looking for them but Dale says she needs to rest and says that he and Tucker will go looking for them. Meanwhile, Chad and the others find Mitch’s body and Chad says that they left it there as a warning. When they hear Tucker and Dale approaching, they all quickly hide as they call out for the “college kids”. When they find no sign of them, and not noticing Mitch’s body behind them, they use Chad’s hatchet, which he left in the side of a tree, to carve a note for the college kids, saying that they have their friend. Returning to the cabin, Tucker is using a wood chipper to deal with some underbrush while Dale is working on digging a hole for the outhouse. Allison offers to help Dale and when Chad and the others see her, they think that Dale is making her dig her own grave and decide to attack Tucker and Dale to rescue Allison. As they move into position, Dale sees some of them and tells Allison her friends are here, then calls out to them. Allison sees Todd running at Dale with a handmade spear and yells out a warning, causing Dale to accidentally hit her with a shovel and knock her into the hole, with him falling into it as well and Todd ends up tripping and impaling himself on his spear in the hole next to Dale. Meanwhile, Mike attempts to attack Tucker but ends up falling into the wood chipper and Tucker tries to pull him out but Chloe and Naomi thinks that he is killing him. Dale takes Allison back into the cabin and he and Tucker tell what happens to each other and they think that the kids are involved in some sort of death/suicide cult and are trying to get Allison back to kill her. Meanwhile, Chad wants to kill Tucker and Dale but the others want to get help and see Chuck returning with the sheriff and go to them, leaving Chad in the woods. Tucker and Dale are trying to get Mike’s body out of the wood chipper when the sheriff arrives and they try to explain what has been going on. When he learns that Allison is inside, he follows them inside and checks on Allison but afterwards, accidentally knocks a beam loose and is impaled by some nails on the end of it. The sheriff stumbles back to his car and tries to call for help before he dies. Chuck gets out of the car and grabs the sheriff’s gun and tries to shoot them but when Dale tells him he has to take the safety off, Chuck ends up shooting himself. Chad was watching everything and runs out and grabs the gun and begins shooting at Tucker and Dale, who duck back inside the cabin. When Chad holds Dale’s dog hostage, Tucker hands Dale a nail gun to use as a distraction while he sneaks out the back door and goes to free Dale’s dog. Tucker ends up captured himself and Chad and the others tie him up, then Chad proceeds to cut off two of his fingers. Back at the cabin, Allison wakes up and Dale tries to explain what all has happened to her. Allison feels like this is a misunderstanding between everyone when a package is tossed at the cabin and Allison opens it to reveal Tucker’s severed fingers and a note from Chad and the others. Dale tells Allison to stay at the cabin while he goes to rescue Tucker, almost getting killed by a trap Chad and the others set. Meanwhile, Chad and Naomi enter the cabin to rescue Allison and Chad begins throwing gasoline on everywhere, planning on burning the cabin down. When Allison tries to get him to stop and explain it is a misunderstanding, Naomi thinks she is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, which enrages Chad and he accuses her of being in love with Dale. Just then, Dale and Tucker arrive and Allison convinces everyone to stop and try to talk things out. Chad explains that his parents were part of the Memorial Day Massacre and while his father died, his mother was the sole survivor but went insane over what happened. He was told the story by his grandmother, which resulted in his irrational hatred for hillbillies. Meanwhile, Jason and Chloe show up at the cabin, having seen no sign of Chad or Naomi in a while, and Jason barges in with a weed whacker and attempts to kill Tucker but Tucker ducks and Jason ends up attacking Naomi in the face. Chad attempts to attack Dale and when Tucker stops him, Chad throws a lantern at them, accidentally setting Jason on fire. Chloe attempts to put out the fire but accidentally uses moonshine, causing the blaze to spread and head towards the cans of gasoline. Tucker, Dale, and Allison manage to get out of the cabin before it explodes, killing Jason, Chloe, and Naomi. Chad survives, though part of his face is badly burned, and they quickly get in Tucker’s truck and try to get away but they end up crashing. When Dale comes too, he finds Allison missing and sees Tucker lying outside. Tucker tells Dale that Chad took Allison and convinces him to go after her so Dale takes his dog and goes after them. Tracking them to an abandoned saw mill, where Chad ties Allison to a log  and proceeds to kiss and lick her. When Dale shows up, he goes to free Allison but Chad activats the buzz saw and then attacks Dale. Dale manages to throw an axe at the ropes and cut Allison free and she helps him fend off Chad before the run into an upstairs office. As they look for something to defend themselves with, Allison finds a newspaper about the massacre and they discover that Chad’s father was the hillbilly murderer, who had tortured and raped his mother. When Chad shows up and goes to kill them, they tell him that he is half hillbilly, causing him to slip further into madness. When he moves to kill them, Dale throws some chamomile tea at him, causing him to suffer an asthma attack and fall out the window, apparently falling to his death. Later, Tucker is recovering in a hospital and watching a news report on the events when Dales pays him a visit. After sneaking him in a beer and asking how he is doing, Tucker shows Dale that the doctors found his fingers and sewed them back on, though they don’t look like his. Tucker then asks if Dale asked out Allison and Dale says no at first before admitting that they are going bowling. At the bowling alley, Dale gives Allison a helmet as a gift, suggesting that she wear it as she keeps getting knocked out, and they end up sharing a kiss, choosing to ignore when one of Dale’s friends knocks out a woman and starts dragging her away.

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Like the best horror/comedies, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil mines its central crazy joke for some incredible scares, laughs, and — believe it or not — heart.” In 2014, it was announced that a sequel was being worked on and both Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine confirmed that they were actively developing the project despite being busy with other commitments. The movie would only receive a limited release in theaters but almost broke even, earning $4.7 million off a $5 million budget

This is without a doubt one of the best horror/comedies to come out in a long time; possibly since Shaun Of The Dead. The acting was great, with Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine doing great jobs as Tucker and Dale respectively while Katrina Bowden (Allison) and Jesse Moss (Chad) were also good. The story was great, with the whole confusion mixed with freak accidents making for a ridiculously entertaining batch of deaths. The whole “Memorial Day Massacre” backstory didn’t really feel necessary as a means to explain Chad’s hatred for Tucker and Dale (and hillbillies in general) but it did set up for a nice bit of karmic irony at the end, as he ended up being the very thing he despised and most likely would have killed himself in a fit of self loathing had he succeeded in killing Dale and Allison. I also liked that they tried to instill a bit of a moral in the movie, with the whole don’t judge a book by it’s cover motive playing a big role in the events that took place. The effects involving the deaths were pretty good and I loved the pure random bad luck that played a part in them, as it was somewhat over the top but very effective. It can be a little gory at times, but this is definitely a movie worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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March 8th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

transformers-dark of the moon

I love watching movies and I don’t mind the epic blockbusters but it does make it a pain to try and get them done in the morning before I go to work. That’s why these past couple of reviews have been late posting, because when the movie is 2 1/2 hours long, or longer, I am not able to get it done before I have to leave for work. So the Bay-former movies are just the latest in these epic pain in the butt for me. Now when it comes to today’s movie, I honestly felt a little burnt out on the series, just 2 movies in. I had been buying the novelizations (which usually came out about a month before the movies did), so I knew what the movie was about and I honestly wasn’t that impressed with it. So I never went and saw it in theaters, choosing to buy it on Blu-Ray when it came out. So let’s dive into today’s movie, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.

The plot: In the waning days of the war on Cybertron, an Autobot ship, the Ark, attempts to escape the planet with an invention that could end the war but the Decepticons damage the ship as it attempts to escape and it becomes lost in space. The Ark crashes onto the moon in 1961, which is detected by NASA and spurs the U.S. to make plans to send people to the moon to investigate. As Apollo 11 lands on the moon and begins to make it’s broadcast, the broadcast is cut to the public, citing their being on the far side of the moon as the reason, and Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong head out to investigate the crashed Ark, reporting what they found to their superiors. In the present day, Sam is living with his new girlfriend Carly in D.C. and feeling depressed over not being able to get a job. Carly tries to cheer him up but gets upset when she finds Brains, a former Decepticon drone who had switched sides, watching them and she leaves. Sam lets in Wheelie, who is also living with them, and Wheelie comments about their situation since Mikaela left Sam and wonders if Carly will do the same. As Sam leaves for his interview, he sees his parents outside, showing up a week earlier than they had said, and after his father comments on his lack of a job, they give Sam a ride to his interview when his own car won’t start. Meanwhile, Colonel Lennox meets with a Ukrainian diplomat, who says that they found something alien in Chernobyl. Lennox leads a NEST team to Chernobyl, accompanied by Optimus Prime, and the diplomat leads them inside and starts to show them where the item is but he sees the Decepticon Laserbeak watching and quickly points them in the direction and leaves. Lennox and his team find the object but are attacked by Shockwave and his driller bot. Optimus manages to keep the item from Shockwave, who escapes, but when he sees what it is, he is shocked to find it is part of the Ark’s engine. Back in D.C., Sam goes on interview after interview and keeps feeling dejected but finally gets a job in a mail room, though he still feels depressed over it. He then goes to see Carly and meets her boss, Dylan Gould, and feels jealous over the closeness Gould seems to have with Carly. Meanwhile, at a Department of Health & Human Services warehouse that serves as the NEST headquarters, Charlotte Mearing, the Director of National Intelligence, arrives to speak with the Autobots but Optimus accuses her of lying to them about what they have known of the Transformers. Mearing introduces Optimus to Buzz Aldrin and two surviving members of the secret Lunar landing mission and the reveal that they were there to investigate the wrecked ship and bring samples back to Earth. When Optimus asks about the crash vault, the humans admit they didn’t find it so Optimus and Ratchet use their own ship to head up to the moon and check the vault, where they find the body of Sentinel Prime, Optimus’ mentor. Back on Earth, Megatron is in exile in Africa, still recovering from his wounds received when he last fought Optimus. He is approached by Starscream, Soundwave, and Laserbeak, who tell him that the Autobots took the bait and recovered Sentinel Prime from the Ark and Megatron orders Laserbeak to tie up loose ends by killing Soundwave’s human collaborators. Back in D.C., Sam starts out on his job but is constantly being watched by Jerry Wang. When they are alone in the elevator, Wang tells Sam that he knows who he is and as he continues trying to talk to Sam, eventually forces him into the restroom, where he tells him the Autobots are in danger, handing him some papers and newspaper articles. Sam looks at them and attempts to talk to Wang later only for Wang to act like he doesn’t know him. When Sam leaves, it is revealed that Laserbeak had disguised himself as Wang’s monitor and he then kills Wang, then attacks the office attempting to kill Sam. That night, Sam goes to NEST Headquarters and tries to get in to see Optimus and Lennox and after Bumblebee stops security from arresting him, Lennox has him brought inside. Sam hands Lennox the papers Wang gave him and starts to explain what happened but he is interrupted by Wearing, who is upset that Sam and Carly have been allowed in the base. Sam is allowed to watch as Optimus uses the Matrix to revive Sentinel, who asks about the pillars. Wearing tells him that they can’t let him have them until the determine that they don’t pose a danger to the planet. Wearing then talks with Sam and Carly and tells him that he isn’t a fighter and he can’t be a part of NEST but she does allow Bumblebee to act as his protector again. Sam contacts Simmons, who is now a famous author though people claim his books are pure fiction, and tells him about the secret about the moon landing and convinces him to help. With Simmons’ personal assistant Dutch’s help, they manage to track down a Russian Cosmonaut who was supposed to go on a manned mission to the moon that was suddenly scrapped. When they meet with him, he shows them pictures of the moon and reveals that there were hundreds of pillars scattered on the moon’s surface from the crash but they had been moved. Sam realizes that the Decepticons must have taken them and needed Sentinel to use them. Sam contacts Wearing and tells her that the Decepticons are after Sentinel and Bumblebee, Sideswipe, and Mirage rendezvous with Sentinel and escort him to NEST headquarters but come under attack by Decepticons. Ironhide shows up to deal with the Decepticons but Sentinel reveals that he had struck a deal with Megatron before he left Cybertron and uses his acid gun to kill Ironhide. Sentinel then breaks the pillars out of the NEST vault and heads to the Lincoln memorial, rendezvousing with Megatron and Starscream, and proceeds to activate the pillars and form a space bridge to the moon. Megatron then summons the Decepticons that were hidden on the moon’s surface and they make their way through the bridge, forcing Optimus and the other Autobots to fall back. Sam goes to Gould’s home to get Carly, who was at a party there, but when they go to leave, the company car Carly was given is revealed to be Soundwave, who takes Carly hostage. Gould then reveals that he has been working with the Decepticons and tells Sam that he will find out what Optimus’ plans are or else Carly will die, forcing a Decepticon probe disguised as a watch onto Sam’s wrist to ensure he doesn’t alert the Autobots to what is going on. Meanwhile, Sentinel issues an ultimatum to the world’s leaders, ordering them to remove the Autobots from Earth or else the Decepticons will kill everyone. The U.S. rescinds their agreement with the Autobots and they go to board their secret shuttle. Sam asks Optimus what he is going to do to fight back and Optimus tells him nothing, then the Autobots all board the shuttle and leave. The drone moves off of Sam’s arm and he contacts Gould to tell him to release Carly but Gould says they needed to know that the Autobots were going to leave without a fight, and Sam watches as Starscream attacks the shuttle and destroys it. Sam has Simmons and Dutch trace Gould’s call and learn that he has gone to Chicago so Sam plans on going there to get Carly back and Epps, who was working on the Autobot shuttle since retiring from NEST, goes with him, contacting some former NEST friends to assist them. When they reach Chicago, they find it has been fortified by the Decepticons and they want to turn back but Sam insists on going to rescue Carly. They suddenly come under attack by a Decepticon flyer but are rescued by Optimus and the Autobots, who revealed that they had hidden in one of the booster rockets, knowing that the Decepticons wouldn’t let them leave Earth alive. With Bumblebee’s help, Sam manages to rescue Carly, killing Laserbeak in the process, but Gould warns Megatron of the Autobots still being alive, and he orders the Decepticons to find them. Seeing a downed surveillance drone nearby, Epps, Sam, and Carly use it to contact Lennox, telling them of Sentinel’s plan to use the Space Bridge to bring Cybertron to Earth’s orbit. The head to a nearby building so they can try to take out the activation pillar but the Decepticons attack the building, causing part of it to fall. They manage to survive the fall and make their way out of the building but Sam and Carly get separated from Epp’s group and come under attack from Starscream. Sam uses some inventions that Wheeljack gave him and manages to kill Starscream, then is rescued by Lennox’s team and Bumblebee. Lennox’s team joins up with Epps’ team and they continue towards the tower, meeting up with a SEAL team in the process. When they find Bumblebee, Wheeljack, and several other Autobots being held captive by Soundwave, they manage to rescue them but not before Wheeljack is killed. Sentinel activates the Space Bridge and Cybertron starts to appear in orbit but Wheelie and Brains manage to sneak aboard the Decepticon flag ship and sabotage it, causing it to crash into the building and deactivate the crystal. As the Autobots renew the fight with the Decepticons, reinforced by some more soldiers, Sentinel begins fighting with Optimus. Sam goes to grab the pillar, but Gould reaches it first and activates it. Sam then knocks Gould into the pillar, electrocuting him, while Bumblebee and the Autobots destroy the Pillar, causing the portion of Cybertron that had arrived in orbit to implode. Sentinel manages to get the upper hand on Optimus, severing his right arm, and moves to finish him off but Megatron, having been convinced by Carly to fight Sentinel over control of the Decepticons, begins fighting Sentinel himself. As Megatron turns his attention to Optimus, Optimus musters up the strength to kill Megatron, then finishes off Sentinel. Sam and Carly embrace while Lennox, Epps, and the other Autobots join Optimus, who knows that the Earth is now there home and vows to defend it.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon met with poor results from the critics, holding a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Its special effects — and 3D shots — are undeniably impressive, but they aren’t enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script.” Michael Bay swore that the Autobot Twins, Skids and Mudflap, would not be in the film, and promised 25,000 dollars to whomever could spot them. However, they do appear in one scene: when Director Mearing arrives at NEST.The movie was a big hit at the box office, earning $1.124 billion off of a $195 million budget, making it the highest grossing entry in the series, the second highest grossing film of 2011 (coming in behind Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2), and the 10th movie to gross over $1 billion.

Ok, I will admit that this was a little better than the last movie, but I still don’t feel bad for not seeing it in theaters. The acting was good, with the returning characters doing their parts well. I liked Patrick Dempsey’s character (Gould) and the little bit of character development they gave him but I honestly thought that Rosie Huntington-Whitely (Carly) was just the same character as Megan Fox, just blonde. As for as the new Transformers, I loved Leonard Nimoy making a return to the series (he played Galvatron in the animated movie), as he really gave Sentinel the seriousness and gravity that the character needed. I also liked Brains and Wheeljack, especially how they made Wheeljack similar to the cartoon character, but giving him kind of a Christopher Lloyd appearance so he looked more like the mad genius inventor that he was known for. I also was happy that they had Shockwave in this movie, as he was one of my favorite of the original Transfomers, but I was disappointed that they made Soundwave change from a communications satellite to a Mercedes. That was just lame. The story was ok but I honestly liked the main plot a lot better WHEN IT WAS IN THE ORIGINAL CARTOON. Seriously, you can’t come up with anything more original than to copy a storyline that is 30 years old. Another thing that I felt was stupid, and I am not the only one to think this, is that fact that Optimus offered Sentinel the Matrix of Leadership and he refused it. Why would he do that. I mean, here he is being offered a powerful artifact that can be used as a power source if needed and he refused it. Sure, some people have said that Sentinel knew he wasn’t worthy of it as he betrayed the Autobots, though they did not know it at the time, but he still could have taken it if for no other reason, to keep it from Optimus’ hands. The special effects were incredible and, while I didn’t get to see it in 3D, I can tell where they would have been and I bet they would have been impressive as hell. So it’s a good movie and probably would have been worth seeing in 3D in the theaters, but it is still worth giving a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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November 8th, 2017 Movie – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

rogue one

Ok folks. This right here the other reason that “S” is my second favorite letter when it comes to movie titles, not just today’s movie but the entire Star Wars franchise. Yes, I am a huge fan of the universe that George Lucas created way back in 1977. The original trilogy has always been one of my favorite series of movies to watch while the prequels….not so much. When Disney bought the rights to the franchise from Lucas, I was honestly a little worried about what would happen in regards to new movies, but hopeful, as Disney has done a pretty good job with the MCU. Now, I know a lot of you are wondering why I am starting the Star Wars series with this particular movie. You see, I have a particular order I like to watch these movies in; not just going original trilogy to prequels or starting with Episode I and going sequentially. However, I will admit that I had a bit of a dilemma when it came to placing today’s movie within that order. I actually had a discussion with several of my friends about this before coming to the decision that I should start with this movie, as it leads directly into Episode IV. So let’s get ready for an adventure as we kick off our journey into the Star Wars universe with today’s movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The plot: An Imperial shuttle lands on the planet Lah’mu but it’s landing is observed by Galen Erso, an Imperial research scientist who has been hiding on the planet with his family. Galen’s wife Lyra contacts Saw Gerrera, a Rebel extremist, and tells him what is going on, then Lyra takes their daughter Jyn to go hide but Lyra tells Jyn to keep going while she goes back to help Galen. Galen heads out to meet with Orson Krennic, a weapons developer for the Empire, who wants Galen to come back and finish helping with the development of the Empire’s newest weapon, but Galen refuses. When Lyra returns and draws a gun on Krennic, Krennic has her killed, though she manages to wound Krennic before she dies. Jyn witnesses this and makes her way to a hidden bunker, where she watches the Imperial soldiers search for her but fail to find her and after they leave, she is rescued by Gerrera. 15 years later, Rebel Intelligence Officer Cassian Andor meets up with an informant at a trading outpost on the Ring of Kafrene, who tells him that the Empire is building a planet killer and that a cargo pilot had defected and taken a message from Galen Erso to Saw Gerrera on Jedha. When some Stormtroopers get curious about what they are doing, Cassian kills them and then his contact before making his escape. Meanwhile, Jyn is a prisoner at an Imperial labor camp when she is rescued by the Rebellion and taken to their base on Yavin IV, where Cassian, Mon Mothma, and General Draven ask her about Gerrera and her father and convince her to help them make contact with Gerrera so they can get the information the pilot has and then rescue Galen Erso. Jyn boards the shuttle that she will be traveling in with Cassian and his co-pilot/partner K-2SO but before they leave, Cassian is called aside by Draven and told that he is to kill Galen instead of rescuing him. On Jedha, the defecting pilot, Bodhi Rook, is taken to see Gerrera but Gerrera has become overly paranoid and believes that Rook is a spy sent to tell people where his base is and has him imprisoned and interrogated. Elsewhere, Krennic is summoned to see Grand Moff Tarkin, who is overseeing the final construction of the Death Star, and orders him to find Rook before word gets to the Senate about the Death Star and drives other systems into joining the Rebellion. Jyn, Cassian, and K-2 head to Jedha and see a Star Destroyer in low orbit, with shuttles carrying kyber crystals off of Jedha, which Cassian says is to power their weapon. Jyn and Cassian head into the city to try and find information of Gerrera’s whereabouts and while Cassian goes to speak with a contact, Jyn meets Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior-monk who is a former Guardian of the Whills before the Empire destroyed the temple. When Gerrera’s forces attack an Imperial patrol, Jyn and Cassian find themselves caught in the crossfire and end up being captured by the Imperials, along with K-2 but Chirrut and his companion, Baze Malbus, rescue them only to end up being captured by Gerrera’s men. Jyn is brought to see Gerrera, who thinks she might have been sent to kill him but she tells him she was there simply to help Cassian retrieve the pilot and message and after that, she is done with the Rebellion. Meanwhile, Krennic and Tarkin have the Death Star moved into Jedha’s orbit and Krennic wants to destroy the whole planet but Tarkin says they want to make a statement and says to simply destroy the Holy City instead. Back in Gerrera’s base, Cassian realizes that Rook is in the cell next to them and tries to talk to him but finds his mind is damaged from Gerrera’s interrogation process. At the same time, Gerrera is playing Galen’s message for him, where he talks about the Death Star and how he built in a weakness within the reactor core and says that they will need to find the structural blueprints to discover the location of the core and says they can find them at a data bank on Scarif, just as Krennic has the Death Star destroy the city. The blast causes tremors and sends a pressure wave heading towards Gerrera’s base in the form of a massive upheaval of the ground. Cassian manages to short out the prison door then goes to locate Jyn while asking Chirrut and Baze to get Rook while contacting K-2 and telling him to come pick them up. Cassian finds Jyn and tells her they have to leave and Gerrera tells her to go and keep the dream alive as he chooses to remain in the base and is killed. K-2 picks up Cassian, Jyn, Chirrut, Baze, and Rook and they manage to escape before the pressure wave kills them and as they travel through hyperspace, Cassian contacts Yavin IV and tells Draven that he knows where Galen is and is told to head to Eadu and complete the mission. Meanwhile, Tarkin congratulates Krennic on the Death Star’s capabilities but tells him he will be taking command of the project, as the security leak raises concerns about his leadership. In a rage, Krennic heads to Eadu himself to question Galen and see if he betrayed him. On Eadu, Rook has K-2 and Cassian fly through a canyon to avoid being detected but they hit an outcropping and end up crashing. When Yavin IV loses contact with them, Draven orders a fleet to go attack Eadu in order to kill Galen. Back on Eadu, Cassian goes with Rook to scout the nearby shuttle dock, in hopes they have a shuttle they can steal but after they leave, Chirrut voices his suspicions of Cassian’s true motives which causes Jyn to go after them, with Chirrut and Baze follow later. Rook and Cassian observe Galen on the loading dock and after a shuttle passes overhead, Cassian tells Rook to go find them a shuttle so they can escape. When the shuttle lands, Krennic disembarks with his troops and tells Galen the station is a success, then has him order his staff brought out so he can question them. After asking who betrayed the Empire and nobody responds, Krennic is prepared to shoot all of them but Galen yells at him to stop, admitting he did it. Krennic strikes Galen, then has his men kill all of Galen’s staff before Krennic kneels down and tells Galen about the test on Jedha. Meanwhile, Cassian is prepared to shoot Galen but can’t bring himself to do it and continues to observe when he sees Jyn making her way onto the dock. When he contacts K-2 and learns about the fleet coming in, he tries to get them to delay the attack but it is too late. As the rebel fleet makes it’s attack run, Jyn calls out to her father just as an explosion occurs, Throwing Galen forward while knocking Jyn, Krennic, and his forces off their feet. After the Rebel fleet completes their hit and run attack and leave, Jyn approaches her father and holds him as he dies. Cassian approaches and drags her away, with Baze covering their escape, and they all board the Imperial shuttle that Rook and K-2 stole. As they are flying back to the Yavin IV, Jyn confronts Cassian about his real mission and he said that he had his orders and he disobeyed them but she isn’t satisfied with his answer. Krennic flies to Mustafar to seek an audience with Darth Vader in his castle fortress. Krennic asks Vader for his help in speaking to the Emperor about letting him regain control of the Death Star but Vader tells him that it has already caused more problems and he should ensure that no more problems can arise, force choking him to get his point across. Back at the Yavin IV, the Rebel Alliance is arguing about what their next course of action should be, with several people saying they should scatter while others want to surrender. Jyn proposes that they attack Scarif and steal the plans for the Death Star, or else the universe would have no chance against the Empire but Mon Mothma says the odds are too great. After the meeting is over, Rook, Cirrut, and Baze agree to help Jyn and they find that Cassian has talked to some more members of the Rebellion to get their help as well. They gather their gear and head for the shuttle and as the controller tries to ask them what is going on, Rook gives them the call sign of Rogue One as they take off. Inside the base, Mon Mothma is speaking with Bail Organa and asks him about contacting his Jedi friend and he tells her he will send someone he trust to contact him. Rogue One reaches Scarif and manages to make it through the Planetary Shield and as they are landing, Jyn explains the plan to the group. After taking out the men that come aboard to inspect the shuttle, Jyn and Cassian disguise themselves in their uniforms and head to the main tower with K-2 while Chirrut, Baze, and the other soldiers head out and make plans to provide a distraction for them. While this is going on, Krennic arrives on Scarif and heads to the main tower, demanding a list of every communication that Galen ever made. Cassian contacts the men outside and have them begin their attack and Krennic, seeing the explosions from the tower, orders the garrison emptied to deal with the attack. On the Death Star, Tarkin receives word about the attack on Scarif and, learning that Krennic is there, he orders the Death Star to head to Scarif and tells his men to contact Vader. At the same time, Mon Mothma is told that intercepted transmissions are talking about the attack and she learns that Admiral Raddus has headed to his ship and ordered the fleet to head there and attack. When the Rebel fleet arrives, Blue Squadron heads down to the surface before the shield is closed while the rest of the fleet begin attacking the Star Destroyers around the planet. When they learn that they are trapped on the planet, Jyn, Cassian, and K-2 realize that the only way to get the plans to the fleet is to transmit them to the fleet so Cassian contacts Rook to make contact with the fleet. Realizing he can’t do it without tapping into the Imperial relay, Rook contacts the rebels and tells them to find a master switch while he taps into the communications systems. Jyn and Cassian start looking for the file and when Stormtroopers begin to enter, K-2 seals them in and holds off the Stormtroopers. Jyn and Cassian finally locate the file but the power goes out as K-2 is severely damaged by the approaching soldiers and he tells them to climb to the top of the tower to transmit the codes before he is destroyed. Jyn shoots out the window and she jumps onto the tower with Cassian and they make their way to the file. Krennic learns of the intrusion in the records room and heads there with two of his guards. Opening a side panel, they begin firing on Jyn and Cassian just as Jyn grabs the file and Cassian manages to kill the guards but he is shot by Krennic and falls down onto a lower platform. Back on the beach, the Rebels try to reach the Master Switch but are pinned down so Chirrut heads out on his own and manages to activate it but is then killed, and Baze is killed soon after. Rook makes contact with the fleet and tells them to take out the planetary shield so that the plans can be transmitted but his is killed when the shuttle is blown up by a grenade. Back above the planet, the Rebel fleet manages to disable one of the Star Destroyers and Raddus has a Hammerhead Corvette ram into it, pushing it into the second Star Destroyer and causing both of them to crash into the shield generator and take down the shield. Jyn makes it to the top of the tower and loads the file into the transmitter, then heads out to realign the dish. As she makes her way back, she is confronted by Krennic and she tells whom who she is but when he goes to shoot her, Cassian shoots him first. Jyn transmits the blueprints and the Rebel fleet successfully receive them when suddenly, the Death Star appears. Tark orders the Death Star to fire on the Imperial base and Cassian and Jyn, who have made it down to the beach, embrace each other as they are killed by the pressure wave from the blast. Back in space, the Rebel fleet is preparing to escape when they are stopped by the arrival of Vader’s Star Destroyer, which begins firing on the ships. When the Rebel command ship is disabled, Vader heads over in a boarding craft to personally recover the plans but the Rebel soldiers manage to get them on board an escape craft, a Corellian Corvette, which leaves the area. As they escape, one of the soldiers asks what was in the transmission and Princess Leia, who is on board, says “Hope.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground — and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.” The castle-like fortress that Vader lives in on Mustafar was based on an unused concept that was created after Episode IV was filmed but before the plot for Episode V was developed. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $1.056 billion off of a $265 million budget, making it the second highest grossing movie in the franchise, and earned 2 Academy Award nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

This was a great movie and definitely worth of it’s place in the Star Wars mythos. The acting was really good, with Felicity Jones (Jyn) and Diego Luna (Cassian) doing great jobs in their roles and showing a surprising amount of character growth between the two of them. I also liked Donnie Yen (Chirrut), Jiang Wen (Base), Ben Mendelsohn (Krennic), and Riz Ahmed (Rook) were also really good, while Guy Henry did a great job of portraying Grand Moff Tarkin, almost making it seem as if Peter Cushing had returned from the grave to reprise his role. The story was great, working great as an immediate prequel to the original Star Wars, in essence, bringing life to the scrawl that appeared at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV. The special effects were great but I also liked how they used some of the old school effects that George Lucas used in the original movie, such as cardboard cutouts of ships to make a hangar look full. Also, that scene at the end of Vader appearing before the Rebel soldiers, with only his lightsaber illuminating him, before he proceeds to slaughter them was pretty bad ass. There is one problem with the movie and that is the desire to pay fan service to the audience creating a pretty large plot hole. See, C-3P0 and R2-D2 are seen in the base on Yavin 4 as the Rebel fleet is leaving to assist Rogue One on Scarif, yet they are on Princess Leia’s Corvette in Episode IV, an impossible feat as her ship was on board the Rebel Flagship when it arrived at Scarif. If they really wanted to play up the fan service, they could have just had them on board the ship as they are escaping from Vader. Aside from that glaring plot hole, this is a great movie and definitely fits in with the rest of the movies.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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July 24th, 2017 Movie – Serenity

serenity

I think that just about everyone knows who Joss Whedon is by now. Even if you were not a fan of his shows, you have at least heard of his TV shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Angel, though more people might know him as the director of The Avengers and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. In 2002, Whedon had another show that some people might not know about called Firefly. Unfortunately, it aired on Fox and they did not know quite where to place it in their line-up, putting it on Friday nights and eventually cancelling it before it’s first season finished airing. However, the show had developed a massive following and, with the massive sells of the Firefly DVD as proof that there was consumer interest, a movie was green lit. So lets see how the final adventures of the Serenity’s crew fare as I watch today’s movie, Serenity.

The plot: By the 26th Century, Earth had become so overpopulated that humanity was forced to find another planet to live on. They eventually found a new solar system and used terraforming to make the planets habitable. The central planets formed the Alliance and set about rules for all of the planets in the solar system but the outer planets value their independence and a war is fought over it. Some time in the future, River Tam is being experimented on and the Alliance scientists are trying to turn her into a psychic assassin but River’s brother Simon manages to sneak into the facility and break her out of there. Later, a man known as The Operative is examining the footage of the Tams’ escape and when the lead scientist arrives to question what he is doing, The operative replays the footage of the scientist saying key members of the Alliance had seen the project. The Operative says that it is possible that River had telepathically learned classified information from those members and his job is to ensure that nobody else learns it, then proceeds to kill the scientist and his guards for allowing it to happen. Meanwhile, Simon and River have taken refuge on the cargo ship Serenity, where Simon earns their keep by serving as the ship’s doctor. When they land on a planet to rob an Alliance payroll, Simon is upset that Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds is taking River with him but Mal insists that he needs her due to her telepathic abilities. Mal, River, Zoe, and Jayne leave Simon, Wash (Zoe’s husband and the ship’s pilot), and Kaylee (the ship’s mechanic) on Serenity and head into the town to rob the payroll. As Mal and Zoe are in the vault, River has a vision of the Reavers, a savage and cannibalistic group of people that attack the outer planets. Mal tells the vault guard to get everyone inside the vault and seal it so they stay safe, then he and his group get on their mule and head out of town. A Reaver ship follows after them but Wash brings Serenity to them and they are able to board it on the run, killing the one Reaver that manages to get on board. As Mal and the others recover, Simon punches Mal for putting River in danger and tells him that they will be getting off at the next port and an angered Mal agrees to it. When they reach the next port, everyone leaves the ship, with Simon and River going their own way but Kaylee, who likes Simon, doesn’t like it and argues with Mal about this. As Mal and Jayne go to meet their contact and get paid for the payroll job, River walks into the bar and sees a commercial playing on the TV, causing her to whisper the word “Miranda” before she begins attacking the patrons of the bar. As Mal and Jayne try to stop her, River knocks out Jayne and goes to shoot Mal when Simon appears and says a phrase that causes River to fall asleep. Mal grabs River and takes her back onto Serenity and, after securing River into a room, grabs Simon and demands answers from him. Simon starts to explain what happened to River and Mal is upset that he had spent 8 months on the ship and never told anyone about what could happen. Realizing they need to find more information, they contact a hacker called Mr. Universe, who tells them that the video never made it to the news and was accessed by the military. Reviewing the footage, they see what set River off and Mr. Universe discovers a subliminal message hidden in the commercial which was intended to trigger River’s response. Mal and the others head to Haven, where their friend and former shipmate Shepherd has set up a community, and while they are resting there, Mal speaks to Shepherd about their situation and Shepherd warns him about what the Alliance will do. Mal receives a communication from Inara, another former shipmate and whom Mal has a romantic interest in, and even though they know it is a trap, Mal and the others go to save her. Mal manages to sneak into where Inara is but he encounters The Operative, who attempts to reason with Mal into giving River to him. Mal refuses and they start fighting but before the Operative can kill him, a flash grenade that Inara had secretly lit goes off, allowing Mal and Inara to escape. They make it back to Serenity and use decoys to keep The Operative from being able to track them. As they are flying back to Haven, Jayne argues with Mal about why they are keeping River on board the ship. When everyone goes off to separate areas of the ship, Jayne heads to River’s room to kill her but she knows he is coming and knocks him out. As the others search for River, she knocks out Simon so he can’t put her to sleep, then heads to the bridge. Mal finds her there and tries talking to her as she goes looking through the ship’s navigation system and she stops and points to a planet, calling it Miranda. Mal has the others join them on the bridge, while River apologizes to Simon for knocking him out, and they discuss Miranda, finding it odd that there doesn’t seem to be any record of it in the Alliance database. Mal suggests going there to investigate but Wash and Zoe point out that Miranda is in the heart of Reaver territory. The group heads to Haven to come up with a plan only to find that Haven has been razed. Mal manages to find Shepherd and calls for help but Shepherd dies before Simon can get there. Realizing that The Operative is attacking anywhere where they had hidden before, Zoe says to warn their friends but they find that they have all been killed. As Mal stares at the screens, The Operative comes on and says that Mal left him no choice, angering Mal. Mal orders the others to take some of the bodies and tie them to the ship so they can disguise themselves as Reavers and head to Miranda, though the crew is unhappy about doing it. They manage to make their way through the Reaver fleet and land on Miranda only to find that it has been terraformed and populated at one point, but all of the people are now dead. Following a beacon signal, they find a transmission from an Alliance scientist, who says that the chemical they used in the air to pacify the population made it where they stopped doing anything, including eating or anything necessary to live. However, a small percentage of the population had the opposite effect, making them more violent and crazed, and Mal and the others realize that the Alliance had created the Reavers. Mal decides to take the video and have Mr. Universe broadcast it to everyone and contact him to arrange it but unknown to them, The Operative was at Mr. Universe’s home and after he finishes speaking with Mal, The Operative kills Mr. Universe and has the transmitter destroyed while he prepares to ambush Mal and the others. Knowing that the Alliance will be waiting for them, Mal fires on the Reaver fleet as they leave Miranda, getting them to chase after them. When the Serenity emerges from the ion cloud above the planet, The Operative has his fleet target it but they are surprised when Reaver ships appear after it and they are forced to fight them. The Serenity makes it through the fleet in the confusion but a Reaver ship follows after them and causes them to crash. They manage to survive the crash but Wash is killed by the Reavers and Mal orders everyone to leave the ship. They make their way inside and Zoe tells Mal they will hold off the Reavers while Mal goes and gets the video to Mr. Universe. Mal heads to Mr. Universe’s chamber to find it trashed but Mr. Universe left a message with his sexbot, which tells Mal he had a back-up transmitter that is ready to transmit. Mal heads down to the back-up transmitter but unknown to him, The Operative, who was forced to eject from his ship as it was destroyed, had followed him and hears the message as well. Meanwhile, the Reavers start to attack the others and Zoe and Kaylee are injured, forcing them to fall back behind some blast doors but they don’t seal all the way. When Simon is shot, River goes through the opening and seals the blast doors, throwing Simon’s medical bag through before it closes, and then proceeds to fight with the Reavers. Mal reaches the transmitter but is attacked by the Operative, who attempts to paralyze Mal so he can kill him but Mal manages to get the upper hand and breaks the Operative’s back, then makes it so he has to watch as he plays the transmission that tells the entire solar system about how the Alliance made the Reavers. Mal rejoins the others and when he asks about River, they are surprised to see the doors open and River standing there, having killed all of the Reavers. Suddenly, the wall blasts open and Alliance soldiers arrive and threaten to shoot them but The Operative orders the soldiers to stand down. Sometime later, Mal and the others hold a funeral for Wash, Shepherd, and Mr. Universe then get to work repairing the ship. As they prepare to leave, Mal is approached by The Operative, who says he can’t guarantee that the Alliance won’t come after them, as the video weakened the Parliment’s power but did not remove it entirely. Mal heads up to the bridge and gets in the pilot’s chair, with River acting as his copilot, and they take off to their next adventure.

Serenity met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Snappy dialogue and goofy characters make this Wild Wild West soap opera in space fun and adventurous.” The movie takes place 6 months after the final episode of Firefly and a three issue comic mini-series, written by Whedon, was released in the summer of 2005 to bridge the gap in the story. Despite the strong following, the movie did not do so well at the box office, earning $38.9 million off of a $39 million budget.

If you are a fan of the show, you will enjoy this movie. Even if you aren’t a fan, if you are a fan of sci-fi movies, you will probably like this movie, but just not understand as much of what is happening. This is a pretty good movie all told. The acting was good, with Nathan Fillion (Mal), Summer Glau (River), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Operative) doing great jobs in their roles. Whedon did a good job in writing the plot so that you could follow along without having any previous knowledge of the show, while adding some elements that would appeal to the die hard fans. The special effects and fight scenes were pretty good, especially the fight scenes with River, as they utilized some of Summer Glau’s abilities as a former ballerina into her choreography. A fun way to end a TV show and a fun movie to enjoy.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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