Movie Review from my phone..heroes in a half shell

It’s either Turtles or heroes in a half shell but I should really know since I just watched this film less than six hours ago. I am blogging this from my phone. Editing my summer adventures recently have given me a new sense of appreciation for the people in my life.

It may feel that you don’t know all of my story and bits a pieces of it have come forth in the past year. I have intentionally left out many things but can tell you one day you will know.

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This summer has been my first in the much heated Pomona. My experience at the movies usually coincides with joining the summer fever and for the most part all the big releases have been hit.. Seeing everything is never the goal but with some serendipity it has almost happened this summer.

Reviews can be so negative and I mostly mean Rotten Tomatoes and it’s very overtly high expectations. This doesn’t mean I disagree with what reviewers have to say but I still side with child like faith and go against the grain of most I know that squash the awe and beauty of a sunset. The believer in me brings out the best in others because living fully alive is the only way to live.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for decades now and I can clearly remember watching the cartoon, playing the video game and watching the three live action less special effect driven movies in the nineties.

This film attempted to retell the story and the inception of the almost Bruce Banner Frankenstein experimentation of mutant Ninjas and leader of the pack, Splinter.

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Basic Breakdown:

Eric Sacks in front of the public of New York City is a humble, public servant, ready to extinguish evil for the sake of “keeping the whole city safe,” but secretly he in kahooz with Shredder( the infamous leader of the foot clan). Sacks used to work with April O’ Neal’s father when they both thought their harvesting of mutant turtles was  a total flop due to a fire. Truth be told the reason why the building burned down was because April’s father found out what Sacks was really up to. April is desperate for a power house of a story and finally gets it when the Turtles break Splinter’s commands and surface above the ground.

The Turtles with the help of April and Vern are able to stop Sacks and resurrect Splinter from the dead with the same chemical combination that created them in the first place. Skating down a snowy mountain in a truck and fighting Shredder on a tower that is about to collapse..well, it doesn’t surprise me that this is the way many action sequences turn out now..it works for this film.

Closing thoughts: The Turtles live on even if the reviews are bad. The zippy one-liners and the pizza loving appeal to maybe more so the Millenials(already 14 years old now) and that is totally okay. When I read Story by Robert McKee in 2009 I did heavily agree with him that what we see every year in the movies is the best of the best that writers can offer. The same guys that crafted Mission Impossible 4 wrote this movie and sure its not the same as that film but it still can be successful. Due to its much impressive opening weekend( I saw this on Sunday August 10th) they want to make a comeback sequel, so there you go..you can’t always listen to the much overly cynical Rotten Tomatoes.

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(Shredder)

The world is craving super heroes and always will. The world is also craving original stories. So its okay if you get a not so epic film that does a little bit of both. In the meantime you can look forward to Interstelller for love is the only thing that will transcend space and time.

Keep in mind that this generation sells out more easily not so much for awesome scripts and stories but for great special effects and not all the time does that work but it does in this case.

Some funny one-liners

“Angel Cake..I totally did not get the ending to Lost!”

I guess that is all I really remember besides realizing that Donatello is a nerd, Mikey is the goofy one with the sense of humor, Raphael is the alpha male trying to fight for control of the group and Leonardo is the truest of leaders for the group.

 

Movie Review: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes(2014)

The preparation was laid in the post called Humans verse Apes and now the actual review is here.

I slightly miss the midnight showings and especially when they are over summer but I don’t miss going to bed at 4am and feeling dazed and confused the next day. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes marks the second installment of this reboot( or maybe its called something else) and in the way that this film ended its possible that the Apes and the humans will go to war again.

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(Home, Family, Future!)

 Director: Matt Reeves

Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback

Stars: Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Andy Serkis

Plot/Overview: Set in the distant future after the Rise Of The Planet of the Apes. Caesar, his son, his newborn son and his closest of Ape comrades have dominated San Francisco. The humans are left to bare minimum resources and are simply just trying to survive. When one of the idiotic humans(Kurt Acevedo) freaks and shoots an Ape Caesar( the fearless, yet empathetic leader) warns the humans to never return to their territory. Violence ensues and the Ape you hate the most, Koba, also makes it look like the humans are shooting Apes(after the humans gave the Apes all their guns). Koba becomes the most hated of the Apes standing not just in opposition to the humans, but also to Caesar and the other Apes. The conflict becomes about who will survive and how both the humans and the Apes misunderstand each other. Both seem to have the choice to do good or to do bad. Koba shoots Caesar and Malcom’s girl, Keri Russell, fixes him back up. Both species learn to care for each other while having the option of destroying themselves and each other. Spoiler: Gary Oldman dying was insanely insane and sort of sad.

The deeper meaning:

I think most of us, given that it is summer 2014, have seen it all. In films especially there is this unspoken notion that pretty much everything has already been done. However, in the midst of cliches and similar stories and settings we still pay to see some of the same elements repeated over and over with different actors playing the characters either with complexion and credibility, or totally bombing at superficial characters. Here’s five things this movie does that takes the cliches and really works it:

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1. Its not just an action movie. The action is sweet and so are the special effects. The Apes look very real and don’t look so fake when juxtaposed with the humans. This movie has a real conflicted story in the midst of action. Its more than action.

2. It is cliche to do a film about the extinction of the human race. How many times does that happen? But, this movie really makes you question the point of human surviving. Are human people that rule America really worth saving..I mean, if it came down to that? Yes and no. You hate the humans that hate the Apes and you also hate the Apes that hate the Apes. What you are trying to figure out is if its possible for both to exist and love each other.

3. Science does not outweigh the will to survive. In one sense you could say that it is genetic for us to kick in our survival senses if our bodies and minds are put in that situation. This film plays off this tension. What the humans did to the Apes was for the purpose of making more money off a product. Its possible that the Apes were already smart. I think that is the point. Without enhancing them to make them smarter, it is possible that they would be where you see them in the film. That is a very good way to create the conflict. It makes the war and the violence something to question.

4. Humans don’t always get to win or do they? The survival genre does usually end with humans getting the upper hand. Many die along the way. Oliver Stone’s war genre showcases this in the context to Vietnam and war, but this same device is all over films. When Malcolm and Caesar both acknowledge that they tried to reconcile this is also something to question and is another tension. Its evolution verses the dignity of people. Even if a person hates another person does that make killing okay? Even if all the Apes hate Koba is it right for him to die? Again, they use the tensions and not just the action.

5. Lastly, this movie is just super well done and super well played out by all the actors. I can’t help but think that Mark Bomback( who helped write this movie) is more than just an action guy and more than just one of those writers that is good at making the action awesome. I would like to believe that everything is intentional in what you see. And sometimes intention is a rarity.

So, go see it and add to the list..

Apes Verse Humans..in getting ready for the Dawn

In my post of my favorite top ten movie moments I mentioned the Tim Burton/Mark Whalburg Planet Of The Apes that was in theaters 13 summers ago. That means that I was 15 years old working at McDonald’s working on draft one of the original Ruckus Journal. Tim Burton tried to resurrect the story and I don’t think it was maybe as bad as others would say. Tim Burton is one of those very esoteric kind of guys that I think makes things that are more cool and entertaining inside of his mind, rather then what people really want to see. But, as I prepare for the early showing of the new Dawn of the Apes I reflect a little on evolution, war, humans and what I see the main message to be.

Three summers ago marked the redo and reboot of The Planet Of The Apes. Tim Burton could have made a sequel and using Marky Mark actually wouldn’t be a bad idea. It did end with Abraham Lincoln having some kind of Ape face which then added a very cliffhanger suspense to everyone and that would involve some warped time travel.

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The 2011 Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes combined some rather moral and ethical questions all centered around the ever so faulty relationship between human DNA and the capability of Apes. In ignorance humans assume they are the top of the food chain. We overstay our welcome here on planet earth and don’t welcome any other foreign deity or  any half breed human or any kind of Alien. This is the train of thought for all these films. When humans get invaded and humans are threatened then humans do whatever they can to survive and defeat the “enemy.” In politics the enemy is the Middle East or Russia or some kind of terrorist in between all of that. Thanks Jack Bauer!

But for the Planet Of The Apes franchise the message is that we don’t get it. We don’t get the powers of science and evolution and in one sadistic way and for the entertainment factor us humans get what they deserve. The scientist that take their discoveries all to help others. If you remember James Franco’s dad that got cured from his impending memory lapses. And the humans take it and try to be the not so selfless mercenaries. It all becomes about medicine and science making a profit out of something that is compromised and dangerous.

This explains the pride you have seen in Jurassic Park and soon to come Jurassic World. This thinking is the source of many science fiction films.

Apes verse humans. Could it really happen? Can evolution actually backfire? Or who is the one to blame? Us not so perfect humans can easily mistreat nature and animals. If Micael Vick almost loses all he had worked for by setting dogs to fight each other then it seems that it does matter how we treat animals. The undertones of Noah( just released in March) had some interesting undercurrents of taking care of the earth..even more so then recognizing the creator Himself.

You don’t have to paint your face and go to war but I think its clear that Hollywood is always in the time machine and wants to try to predict bits and pieces of “the end of the world!”

I know the end of the story. I don’t know if Apes are part of the end-time plan but I know the humans, well Jesus died and bled for them.

If God Is Everywhere, Then Where Am I?

Most of us have heard this verse in Romans 11:36 “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Paul is concluding his wonderfully complex expounding of Israel and the church. That’s a whole other post for another time. But what has been striking me recently has been the awareness that God is more aware of us then maybe we are of Him. When I say ‘awareness’ I simply mean the conviction deep down that God is of, to and through Him are all things.

All things( for the purpose of this post) means all stories and all sounds. It means all expressions and all the colors paint their strokes to point to the unknown. Everyone and everybody, whether male or female, or young or old has the longing towards God and towards love. So, when we read that God is in all things and around us and that ‘His invisible attributes’ testify to Him, then that also means all movies and television and all music. It means that the artist has been given the dreadful and wonderful task of telling a story that relates to people. Exaggeration and reality all collide as the streaks of hope, pain, suffering and purpose present themselves to all of us. This is a huge subject that I intend to expound on as time goes forward. But as you are reading movie reviews know that this truth of ‘TO, THROUGH, AND OF’ are what it is pointing to. We all have the longing to see God in what is out there.

This doesn’t mean we should look at and hear just anything. I do believe in purity of both the eyes and the ears. I believe that the trigger for much immorality can be what you allow your eyes to look at. Usually it means what you allow yourself to see on purpose, rather then just what you see at work and at the grocery store. I do believe in the eye gate, but I also want to contend to put the God lens on a little bit and see Him everywhere and in everything( given the proper boundaries). When you start to go down this path of not just believing that you are encountering God at church or in a sermon or when you listen to Christian radio, then you start to realize that you can actually encounter God no matter the time of day and no matter your physical location.

Enter into the story. God’s story.

Movie Review: Transformers: Age Of Extinction(2014)

When you are in New York maybe the last thing you want to do is see a movie because you could do that anywhere. But, seeing this film with my good, good friend Eric where he lives now makes it more worth it..no matter the film. I am still selective but also a believer in what even some people would call bad movies..I am still a believer even if critics rip something apart.

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Writer: Ehren Kruger

Director: Michael Bay

Plot..or whatever it is to be called..

No, I am not as harsh as the reviewers nor(as in all of these movie reviews) claim to really break down films necessarily. I just like movies and look a little deeper at most anything that people flock to. Transformers 1 and 2 were chalk full of nasty puberty jokes and near-death bathroom humor. High school-ers trying to be maybe adults running around with robots. However, the reason for so many movies is the undeniable and rather shallow expectation that most people have for ANY action movie. You cannot expect deep dialogue tested with twists and turns. This isn’t House of Cards or anything labeled not action. However, some plot is needed to at least keep you appreciating all the in between action.

Michael Bay proves his upward sunset shots and firework explosions over and over and has for at least a decade now. But the story in this fourth film is a little bit of a stretch, yet not as lame as everyone says.

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The Transformers are hidden and Frasier is looking for them. Maybe he wants to pycho-babble them to death or bring up their childish night mares that they keep having. Ceasar Flickerman has now shaved his head and is now the black ops version of Steve Jobs and Tony Stark. Technology is our biggest enemy. It is a weapon. It is entrusted to fallen people that can make bad choices and use it for murder and destruction. All along, Optimus Prime loves the humans and has a mysterious creator out there that would be his God. We never meet him, we just know we will in Transformers 5: Battle At The Equator.

I am teasing here a little and not really breaking this movie down. Sorry for that. I am fresh in the mood to say who really cares at the end of the day. I will always love Marky Mark(spellcheck) and I appreciate the rather less than crappy objectifying of women going on in this movie. And I did feel as if I was watching War Of The Worlds(summer 2005) in terms of really bad father/child dialogue. I am glad Hollywood still thinks most men are idiots and incapable of growing up.

In the end, I think what matters here is not war and not the power that technology offers. That is the subtext underneath the really bad emo music. I think what matters is that some things never change. The world remains what it is. Humans win. Humans are the essence of everything. Even greater then any machine. The machine only resembles what the humans tell it to resemble. Action will remain an ever increasing interest and violence will continue to get worse and worse as it is masked in a more “family action movie.” It is 2014 and things are rapidly changing in our world. I don’t consider it a waste to see that that is a reality. But what will be a waste is when reality clashes with what is not real. And to be able to see that you might have to not believe everything you see in the movies.

The irony, however, is that you are sitting in a electric building running off modern technology watching a movie about how dangerous technology can be. Its a mirror. And it always will be.

Take your chances. A much to long movie but not a complete waste. I love explosions! Happy Fourth Of July!

 

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider(2014)

I really can’t believe it has been this long. I mean Captain America 2 is still playing in some obscure movie theaters around me but for the most part its time to wait for it to be released on DVD. It has been a solid 6 years now that Marvel has been releasing movies now more attached to Marvel as a studio. Of course there has been Superman, Batman and Green Lantern from DC Comics. But Marvel has really stepped it up ever since Iron Man and the Edward Norton Hulk.

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Summer 2011 marked the first Captain America movie. I have to admit that I enjoyed it but the whole story behind Steve Rogers is not really that interesting. Its important but is not very interesting. Here’s why. We like Iron Man and Tony Stark because Stark is sort of a jerk, a genius, a billion dollars man and a womanizer. But what he is really known for and what makes him the most prominent in his business is his weapon making Stark industries. Here is a man who does not see the destruction of his ways..well until he gets forced to see it. Stark takes his bad boy, bad attitude, glamorous lifestyle and uses it for good. He gets the conviction and creates what everyone never would have thought he could have done. Bruce Wayne(Batman) does kind of the same thing. Both Stark and Wayne become self-made superheroes. However, Captain America is already sort of a good guy and loyal and is supposed to represent the sincere soldier patriot that we assume everyone is before they go to Iraq and Afghanistan. But this sequel plays it in a whole new and very non-boring way.

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Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and Ed Brubaker. Based on the comic by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan

Plot/Overview: Set some time after Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 and really very soon after The Avengers, Steve Rogers is adapting to life in Washington, D.C. Jogging around the Lincoln Memorial with elapsed time effect Steve meets Sam Wilson(a.k.a. Falcon) and introduces him to music he should listen to. Steve is also accompanied by Black Widow and that Cobie Smulders girl. Steve is thrown into his next mission in partnership with a bunch of CIA renegade types(meaning, they look like renegades). An apprehension of a ship taken captive by “pirates.” The plot thickens and turns against the ones you wouldn’t expect it. Nick Fury gets ambushed in his bulletproof car(which makes for an epic scene!) and almost dies. Steve soon discovers that he can’t really trust anyone. Up comes to the surface the Robert Redford guy(Alexander Pierce) who says, “to build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down, and that makes enemies..” Of Course this elicits Steve’s main line of the whole movie. He says, “I used to know what is right( or the right thing to do) but I don’t know anymore!” Essentially this is the good guy Steve questioning his moral compass and pressing the issue. It gets revealed that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky(his best friend in life before he became Captain America).

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. I really think I even need to see this movie again. I saw it right when it came out in April and was watching in 3-D so some details have slipped my mind. In the end Falcon fights and the Captain lives on and the Winter Soldier is not dead. They really could make a third movie and I think they should.

The deeper meaning

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I think comic books throw us off because we don’t expect them sometimes to point their fingers on deep political issues, but they can serve as very relevant pieces of art that expose our justice system. I think the whole idea of shield is similar to the idea of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act and Homeland Security and the NSA. It seems as if in order to keep America safe from terrorism that we have to develop these multidimensional secret teams and underground operations in order to “keep America safe.” Our secret torture of prisoners( or otherwise possible terrorist) in Guantanamo Bay. Its probably not so much of a secret now but it takes place. The C.I.A. and the US government has let the people believe a lot of things in order to always cover up what really is going on. S.H.I.E.L.D. borders the line of keeping people safe and protecting them with also possibly putting our “super” heroes in harms way or in a compromising way in order to keep people safe. Its a tension and its a reality.

Do we really need these super powered freaks to keep us safe. ‘No one does good, not even one!’ How can normal people with special abilities know even how to do the right thing? Sometimes, its because they are the only ones willing to do it. Captain America borders this line and question. Power hungry people like Robert Redford in this movie will always be fighting to tear down the walls of safety and the illusion of protection. Doing right becomes more of a personal, subjective conviction, rather then a general claim that we put up as people. Steve represents the good intentions of the military but the negative imprint it leaves on men and their minds and their families.

In conclusion, “its not freedom, its fear!” The building of a new world means that the system has to be questioned and tested. Aside from all of these political thoughts the action in this movie far surpasses most of the Marvel movies. And the scene in the elevator when Captain says, “before we start, does anyone want to get out?”

Who will do what needs to be done? Even if it means compromising what you believe to be right and wrong.

Everyone should see this movie..seriously see it.

Movie Review: Godzilla(2014)

Summer is here. School just ended on the superstition of Friday the 13th. This review( as well as X-Men too) are three weeks old. I saw Godzilla on memorial day. And because of the emptiness of the movie theater it toned down the infamous creature called Godzilla but the empty theater did not equate to the feeling of..’I just wasted the last two hours on this..’

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This picture above was the most intriguing when the trailer for Godzilla was released the scene of the general speaking to the troops before they make the dive.

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writers: Max Borenstein and Dave Callaham

Stars: Elizabeth Olson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe.

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Overview/synopsis:

In 1999 the Janjira nuclear power plant explodes. Joe Brody loses his wife Sandra to the accident. Now 15 years later he searches for the truth behind the incident. Ford Brody(Joe’s son) returns home after his father gets arrested. This leads them to discover what really caused the plant’s explosion. As well as, Dr. Ichiro Serizawa searching for answers to. Godzilla comes to the surface and not completely underwater( like in the past) but rather emerging as not so much an enemy and rebel looking to hatch his eggs in a sport’s arena(the Mathew Broderick version). But also the MUTO( these alien flying like creatures) appear as well. There is some sort of transfer of egg like substance sitting in the belly of Godzilla. I honestly can’t remember( like some other movies I have seen recently) what happens to Godzilla. Most of us have to believe that even if it looks like Godzilla dies that it most likely won’t be a final death. And I am sure they will make a sequel to this new reboot, so he has to live on.

Meaning and reflection:

The Leviathan like creature is really more of a reflection of man verse nature. There is this underlying message just like in Planet of the Apes of humans not being able to control and master science. And when man messes with nature to much it turns on us. The inevitable enemy of humanity is something that man cannot control. Keeping in mind that this originated in Japan years ago is it possible that Godzilla represents the capitalism of the west blowing up most of Japan in response to Pearl Harbor during World War 2. I don’t know but at least in this version of Godzilla its more about understanding the tension between nature and man. In the end and at the end of the day all that matters is that humanity prevails and that humanity lives on in the process of opposition. Any kind of resistance that comes our way we will find a way to win. Not just as Americans but as people. Blue fire is still fire, but that made it much cooler for some reason.

“The Arrogance of man is thinking they are in control of nature and not the other way around..” somebody said this in the film–

 

Movie Review: X-Men:Days Of Future Past(2014)

No, we can’t connect John Mark’s new song Future/Past with this latest X-Men movie but both the song and this movie are highlights of entertainment for 2014.

X-Men has officially made 6 films before Days Of Future Past. I have to admit that the first X-Men(directed by Bryan Singer) was much better then the two that followed it. In the summer of 2009 when X-Men Origins came out centered on Wolverine I was severely disappointed. I also saw it at midnight and I think that let me down as well. No one likes a midnight showing that totally tanks. However, the X-Men franchise did redeem themselves with X-Men:First Class.

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First class had that edgy style to it that really retold the story in a way that was just better than what had been in the past. And last summer(2013) The Wolverine was released..so good as well. It is a little bit of a stretch I think to keep making Wolverine movies because there is only so much to show and tell with his inner turmoil of suffering. He is a complex person that is trying to do right while also having the appearance of anger and hatred.

Director: Bryan Singer

Writers: Simon Kinberg(Story and Screenplay), Mathew Vaughn and Jane Goldmen(Story)

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James, McAvoy, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart and Michael Fassbender

Overview/synopsis:
The story is set after First Class by some years. It is the year 2023 and the Sentinels( robots) are destroying the world and the mutants. To prevent them from extinguishing the human race the X-Men must travel back in time to stop the robotic problem from ever getting it feet off the ground. Kitty Pryde(Ellen Page) is able to send someone but only Wolverine can handle the side effects of going back years instead of weeks. Wolverine’s mission is to find the professor and explain to him the task at hand. Turns out that Raven/Mystique needs to be stopped because of her attempt to kill Dr. Trask(the man in charge of the Sentinel program). Wolverine, with the help of Beast and Quicksilver break Magneto out of prison( a made of no metal cell 100 feet underground).Magneto was imprisoned for trying to kill JFK. Later it is revealed that JFK was possibly a mutant and Magneto was trying to help him.

A very humorous scene where Quicksilver does his magic and gets Magneto free. The story climaxes at a summit in Paris where Dr. Trask first releases the Sentinel program and goes against Magneto, who is also building an army himself. President Nixon says he will fund Trask the money to get the program going. In conclusion, the future X-Men are able to stop everything. Raven is able to redeem herself. My only brain goof right now is remembering exactly what happened to Trask. I am pretty sure he died but in reading up on this movie that is not the end of him. Magneto’s magnetic speech of, “You fear us because we are different” really appeals to many societal stigmas and injustices that take place all around us. Our practice of discrimination.

Professor X said in the beginning of the film: “is the future truly set.” And the film ends with the future X-Men now in the mansion with all their other mutant friends. We see that Jean Gray never died, nor did Scott. This was cool and romantic to end with Wolverine seeing that the love of his life has not perished. I am sure that their love story will continue on.

Key lines and closing thoughts..

I feel in all the movie reviews that I have done on this blog that I am not the best at breaking it down scene by scene. I have found a ton of stuff just on this film of people breaking it down scene by scene. Rather, I like to write these to point out how I feel one movie connects to others and what can be learned from the actors, writers and the genre.

X-Men, as well as all comic book or super hero films all play off that thing in us that looks for safety and protection in those that have unusual talents and gifts. Its no secret that some of the most powerful minds have the most tormented lives. Depression, bipolar and even ending one’s life in suicide plague many brilliant people. Ernest Hemingway and Freud both killed themselves but clearly had powerful imaginations. Professor X taking drugs in the beginning of this film to cope with his gift, or even to block it out. In the end he faces his pain and clicks himself back into his area of purpose. Magneto saying, “You fear us because of our gifts.” That really says it all. The world is not ready for different and unique. It happens to us all the time but we don’t accept it very well. A country like ours that is now becoming less white then it ever has been. A black president. Gay marriage being the most legal it ever has been.

Our land of the free is becoming the home of the different and the home of opportunity. X-Men represent the unique and the different. We either embrace that or we stay stuck in our ideals of what we value to be the standard. Its a choice and it is a challenge.

I did also like the line “We all have to die sometime!”

As far as the hidden scene in the end goes..get ready for Apocalypse in 2016.

Movie Review: Edge Of Tomorrow(2014)

Officially this would only be my second movie review for the years of 2014. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit was my last rodeo( in movie streak terms). I really have set aside a lot of time in the past 6 months to not watching many movies as to better focus on writing and studying and college classes.

However, I have taken some time away from that focus to see what is out there. As my last post began delving back into time as to the best of the best movie theater experiences have been..this one was, however, maybe on that list. Summer blockbusters as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas really are Hollywood’s A-list set of films and the best of the best. School’s out..hopefully forever! And all is welcome to the black screen, freezing air conditioning and the many demands that we make for our 20 dollars and two hours.

Edge Of Tomorrow Official Synopsis And Review

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Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Noah Taylor

Director: Doug Liman

Writer(s):Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth. Based on the novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Plot/Overview: Set in what seems to be the relative future( implied by the robotic war machine suits of armor) major William Cage(Tom Cruise) is recruited and sent to the front lines of Europe to engage an alien enemy. The conflict in him is that he does not fight, but reluctantly and ordered to he must fight. Cage shows up very scared and unable to fight. Moments into getting dropped from the airplane into the fight Cage is killed(he did ask the guy next to him about the safety on the gun). Cage does not die, rather he enters some kind of time/space continuum( I knew that Stephen Hawking guy was onto something). Instead of dying he has to relive the same day. As each day into battle occurs Cage develops a keener sense of how to defeat the alien armies. He also meets Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a special forces warrior, who figures out that he is dying and coming back to life. After a few times of meeting she says, “Come find me when you wake up?”

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And, as Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. Cage discovers that the same ‘live, die, repeat’ effect happened to her but she lost the ability. With the help of Dr. Carter(Noah Taylor) they are able to defeat the aliens.

I just fast forwarded it a bit…you get the picture..they fight tip they win( go America-assuming that that is who Cage is fighting for, even though they were attacking France–clearly, not referring to present day relations with France)

After Thoughts/key messages and lines

I am still figuring out the format for my movie reviews. I think its just like anything in breaking down movies/stories and music..just lets get to the ‘what does this mean part?’

Honestly, all of my closest friends and family will know how deep of a thinker I can be. Obviously the poetry is no surprise but I even get surprised by my emotional compass of the things that really strike me. This movie is not that deep, however, anytime we talk about war and show war that does do something to people. There were stories when Saving Private Ryan came out of real war veterans that were in Normandy and could not bear to stay in the movie theater because it was that accurate. Hollywood is its own Sociology book. It takes its views of the world and shoves it in your face sometimes as to what it ought to be like. War is an opinion sometimes, but a gross reality for all of humanity. Cage represents the fearful and cowardice of a man that does not want to fight. Its as if his name got picked in the draft and he did all he could to deny it. But the key line in it all is when Rita says, “You have to die everyday.” Cage does not want to face his reality. Our human weakness wants to run and hide but life is a war, it is a daily battle. The Apostle Paul said it 2,000 years ago, “I die daily!”

Nobody wants war but we face it and those who choose to fight will be remembered forever. Hollywood wants to know what the end of the world will be like and like most stories humans will prevail and humans will survive. The alien Mimics are not the real enemy, the real enemy is facing death and overcoming it.

Lastly, when Cage says, “I live this day I don’t know what is gonna happen!” That is also the reality. We don’t always get a second chance, so we need to face the conflicts at hand and face them today.

Rotten Tomatoes gave this a great review at 89 %, but it fell last place in money making for its opening movie and losing out to the ‘Fault In Our Stars’ film. It goes to show that Tom Cruise still delivers, even as he is aging but that doesn’t always translate over into the success that the producers and studios want. People want sequels and the stats show that they gross the most money.

Shall we anticipate:  Transformers 4, Superman 2, Star Wars, episode 7, 22 Jump Street, Avengers 2, and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes..some to come this summer and some next.

I have many, many more reviews and blog thoughts to come on films. Its been a journey, so stick with me not on just the summer and the past 6 months but on what is to come of what we crave and love in characters and television.

As always..to be continued..

 

Top Ten Most Memorable Movie Experiences, Pt. 1

In light of my last post and mentioning that I am setting aside some time to write some movie and television reviews I think it necessary and mostly for fun to tell some ‘ best of the best’ movie experiences for me. It would be accurate to say that I have seen over a thousand films in the past 6 or 7 years. Maybe in some circumstances that is not something to boast about. I think of in my adolescence that there was more the fear of not seeing something and not having anything to talk about( in terms of movies out). Honestly, the fear of missing out still is sort of part of my decision when it comes to exploring new television shows and movies. In terms of morally, I have not always made the best decisions in terms of what I have allowed my mind to see, but I do feel( at least if you are any kind of writer) that there can be a lot you can find in films if you are looking hard and close enough. Robert McKee in his book Story talks about how the movie experience is an investment for people. Why would people pay money to purposely stare at a black screen for two hours? Or rent a movie for 1.30 at Redbox and risk paying the late fees, or burn through five seasons of a television show in two weeks?

The very optimistic appreciation of the art answer is that there is always something to learn and experience if you are really looking for it. The overly simplistic answer is: people crave and are craving stories.

Stories that probe us and prick us. Stories that are not afraid to tell the truth. Now, yes, there is the entertainment factor and as much as Aristotle in Poetics, says that life cannot be exaggerated, it is usually always getting stretched for us. Essentially we claim to always want something different, or want to see something we have never seen before, but movies pretty much do the same four or five things over and over again and yet we always fall for it and always pay for it, and end up wanting more.

We usually always see some kind of scandal. Scandal that burns bright in front of our minds. Corrupt cop movies. Corrupted business people, leaders of nations and politicians all face threats that most of the time they bring upon themselves. We always see face paced action sequences and crazy fight scenes. And most always we see a love story of some sort. We see sacrifice and people making fool’s of themselves. Yes, even if the reason is just sex, people fight for each other. People lose their vocational positions, money and social status just to have someone they feel they can’t live without. All of these things are  in the shows we watch and in the movies we see. The question then becomes-what do we do with the lessons we learn in the movies? Do we take the lessons from the stories and apply them to our lives? If we look close enough we can see it and we can feel it, and essentially be changed by it.

Movie #10: Godzilla(1998 version)

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I remember being officially 12 years old and seeing this film twice in the theaters. My movie friends( and friends too) Brandon and Brad went to this film. The first place we lived as a family in Fort Collins was on rockaway street right next to a movie theater. I spent more time walking over there to see whatever would be playing( of course nothing rated R because I was not 17). It wasn’t so much that Roland Emmerich’s version of Godzilla was so awesome. Ferris Bueller telling everyone that Godzilla is pregnant and blowing up Madison Square Garden is always an interesting twist to the end. I just remember being in awe of the action and the explosions. Maybe it was more exciting because I was only 12.

Movie #9 Planet Of The Apes( the Marky Mark remake) July 2001

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The summer of 2001 is where the original title ‘The Ruckus Journal’ began. It was coined in the aftermath of the McCrew’s many adventures. It was the summer where myself, Andy, Isaiah and AJ all worked at McDonald’s. I was the forerunner of the group and the rest followed. AJ’s previous job was at a movie theater in Loveland and so we decided to go there to see this film. I just remember thinking: they better make a sequel. And I also thought that the kiss with the Ape was rather whacky but Lincoln’s face as an Ape, however, was a great way to end the movie. We all know now that ten years later they did do another Planet of The Apes but not with Tim Burton or Marky Mark. Leaving the theater that July night as a 15 year old, I remember AJ ‘s mom telling us ‘its just a movie’ almost to calm us down because our minds were so blown by this film. It was the experience of the film that stood out the most of all the movies we saw that summer.

Movie #8 Spider-Man( May 3,2002)

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Most people would say that when you are 16 years old you are a little too old for dressing up, even if it is for your favorite movie. But age did not stop me when Spider-Man came to the theaters. My sophomore years of high school was my last year of ice hockey( I did not know it at the time) and so I was able to borrow the older version of the Spidey costume from Drew on my hockey team. I got the costume and bought the spidey gloves with the silly string shooters( also meant for little kids). I got a lot of laughs at school and especially my math teacher laughed really hard because I came to her class late and told her that I was out saving lives! The time for the movie came and we went to the Loveland movie theater. I remember seeing kids crying because the movie was sold out and I was giving out autographs while we waited in line. The most adrenaline pumped up moment, however, was that we were making so much noise going into the theater that they almost told us to leave. This film was so amazing because I think we all had wanted it for a long time and it was supposed to come out but September 11th happened and they had to re-shoot the end. For sure a pure rush to the head.

Movie #7 Matrix Reloaded( may 2003)

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Junior year of Rocky Mountain high school was by far the most stressful year of school and especially the last few months. Somehow I convinced my mom to let me see Matrix Reloaded very late at night knowingly having to get up the next day at 7am. Anyone who is any kind of film critic will probably mention that the first Matrix did something very unique in its slow-mo, fast-mo camera angles. Leading up to the first Matrix many films had tackled action and explosions..especially in the nineties. But the Wachowski brothers did change the game a bit. Reloaded and its freaky crazy highway fight scene and Neo taking on a million Agent Smith’s..favorite parts. One of the best movie theater experiences of that year..for sure.

Movie #6 The Bourne Supremacy( Summer 2004)

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I don’t think I appreciated the Bourne movies until years after they came out. The first time I really hung out with Nick Barrett we watched the first Bourne movie. To this day Nick is one my best friends and now we live only 20 minutes from each other. The Bourne movies really redefined not just action but action/drama and action that is driven by characters. What made Jason Bourne such an intriguing character was that it wasn’t so much that he could destroy anyone that came in his path it was that he represented something a lot deeper. Robert Ludlum( the novelist of the Bourne movies) was more showing us the corruption behind the system. The illusion that the government gives to us. That we are to trust the politicians and the CIA to protect us. In the name of keeping things safe they break all the rules in order to keep us thinking that we are fine. Bourne represents the experiment that is done with that illusion to it. It is as if the government leaders need someone to do the dirty work and if that person has a conscious then they won’t get it done. This is what makes it such a good character. Expose the system and destroy the illusion of safety.

That’s all for this first part…