Thursday, December 31, 2015

Solomon Kane (2009)

Solomon Kane is based on Robert E. Howard's pulp magazine character. Robert E. Howard is creator of Conan the Barbarian. Solomon Kane is Puritan living late 16th century. Like in Conan magic, witches and demons are real. Solomon Kane has Christian themes when Conan had Crom who favored strength.

Solomon Kane is mercenary who has done evil during his career. Life and death doesn't mean anything to him until demon tries to claim his soul. Solomon Kane escapes to monastery to hide from demons. Monks let him stay for a while until darkness gets too thick and they send him back home. Solomon Kane has given up violence because it would damn his soul to hell.

It is not big surprise that world forces Solomon Kane back to way of the violence. Non-violence part slows the movie. You just wait it to end. This is dark action movie after all. There is another non-violent moment when Solomon Kane thinks he has lost his change to save his soul. Rather than fighting evil he let evil to crucify him. All this religious imagery and themes start to be too much at this point.

After Solomon Kane realizes he can still save his soul he starts to fight again. Why not trying to stay alive as long as possible if he knew he was going to hell. It is hard to relate to hero whose motives you don't understand. Hero's motives are not only things hard to understand. Same applies to other characters too. None of the characters have reasonable character arcs. It is hard to relate or care when you don't understand motives. When you think you understand characters do something unexpected.

I expected Solomon Kane to be cool dark gothic action movie. It is dark and violent but not cool. Solomon Kane whines too much about his lost soul, Movie is good example why you should not spend whole movie to tell origin story. Solomon Kane becomes interesting character only after he has won the villain. This was not only issue movie had. It didn't reward audience any way. It just threw new characters instead of developing existing characters or story arcs.

Solomon Kane was meant to be first part of trilogy. It was box office bomb which ended the trilogy after the first movie. Movie is bad but it had potential. Solomon Kane became less whiny at the end and might have worked better in sequels.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 5 movies of 2015

I think I can do this list this year since I have seen enough new movies. I didn't see all of them. Only ones I was interested in. I include movies which got Finnish premiere 2015. One movie on list got premiere elsewhere in 2014 but we got it 2015. So it is on this list. List doesn't have the movie everyone should love or the movie which made most money. I liked them both but I liked these more.

5 Fast & Furious 7

Fast & Furious 7 is not something fans of serious movies should like. It is not high art but is so much fun. I didn't expect to like this so much. The Rock, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham in same movie almost makes this like Expandable the Next Generation. Movie knows what it is. It doesn't try to be anything else. You can find my review here.

4 Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service has all the fun missing from Daniel Craig's Bond movies put into one movie. I almost missed this one. When reviews of other movies told to see this instead of the other movie I had to check this. I was in bandwagon when I walked out of the theater. Movie has one scene with bad CGI which drops this from higher place. You can find me review here.

3 The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game was Oscar bait. Like other Oscar baits it premiered in Finland close to Oscar ceremony to take full advantage of nominations. The Imitation Game is biopic of Alan Turing. He is best known for four things. His team broke the enigma code, he is considered as father of modern computing, he created Turing test and he was gay. The Imitation Game concentrates on first one. There is little bit of him being gay. Computing is almost ignored. Turing test was briefly explained. You can find my review here.

2 The Martian

The Martian is a movie I have waited for a long time. Big budget serious science fiction movie which gets science right. Ridley Scott finally made another great science fiction movie after Alien and Blade Runner. I hope this opens doors for another similar movies. Gravity and Interstellar teased as being scientifically accurate but this actually was. You can find my review here.

1 Ex Machina

If Ex Machina is not on your top movies of 2015 list you either have not seen it or don't like serious science fiction movies. Weird scientist brings bright young man to his underground laboratory to test his latest artificial intelligence. It is strange version of Turing test. Most of the movie we only see four actors and one of them don't even say anything. Great story, great script, great acting and great everything. I will make longer video of why this is so great next year. Meanwhile you can find my spoiler free review here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Deadpool Trailer 2 review

I chose to include green band trailer. Ending was so good and red band didn't contain that much more. It few curse words and it showed little bit more violence. You can find it easily if you want to check it.

I hope they keep this tone through out the movie and didn't give everything in trailers. This is origin story movie. They could ruin this by spending too much on origin story. We want to see Deadpool not what he was before he became Deadpool.

If they can give us the movie trailers promise it is probably the best superhero movie of 2016. Even better than Captain America. I waited Suicide Squad until I learned it will be PG-13. For Batman V Superman I have no expectations. Doctor Strange will probably be good introduction movie but nothing more. I don't know what to expect from X-Men: Apocalypse. Trailers look like they will ruin Apocalypse but they can still save it.

Please don't ruin this. It looks almost too good to be true.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Doctor Who Series 9 Episodes 9-12 (2015)

I reviewed first eight episodes here. I really liked them. Last four were little bit let down.

Episode Sleep No More was just terrible. Even the Doctor said something didn't make sense. Episode felt like Doctor Who template episode without anything interesting. Nothing worked and nothing made sense but it looked Doctor Who episode. We have seen this so many time so much better done. Better name would have been Watch No More. Now that I think about it we were urged not to watch the episode at the beginning. We should have done that.

Last three episodes made season finale. Each episode had different style but it all made continuing story. Each episode was worse than one before. Main problem was that everything became larger in scale and importance. Search for Gallifrey ended when Doctor just appeared there at end of second last episode. For two seasons he did nothing to find it and then he was there. Whole 50th Anniversary episode teasing was for nothing.

For first eight episodes Clara was like normal companion. Tenth episode gave her character good exit point but Moffat needs to make everything larger than life. So everything was blown out of porpotion just to bring Clara back. Things like this are reasons why I don't like her. She came from Matt Smith's era where everything was grand and fantastic. I hope next companion is more down to earth like current doctor is.

Face the Raven was best episode of last four episodes. How ever it is not on level of first eight episodes. Episode had interesting idea. It gave Clara good exit. I even though we need these episodes to make dangerous situations count after seeing the episode. But it was nullified later episodes. Biggest problem was this was part of season finale which went weirder as it progressed.

Heaven Sent  had interesting idea but it was not enough for whole episode. When idea is revealed episode felt interesting for a moment and soon you are back waiting for it to end to see what happens next.

Hell Bent made Doctor Who cosplayers' life much easier by letting Doctor play much less rare guitar. Red Epiphone SG with Bigsby is much easier to get that one he played earlier. Other good things are harder to find. Main story was bringing Clara back and everything else was thrown there without giving much thought if it made any sense. This episode messed the continuity really bad.

I don't remember how many times Doctor have visited at the end of the Universe and each time it is different. I hoped it was like in episode Listen but it was not to be. He met another larger than life character from this season. Like audience can't remember what happened in earlier seasons. Latest season is always more important than earlier seasons and everything has to be bigger than before.

Even though last episodes dropped the ball whole season was positive. Season finale had few good ideas but I can't discuss about them without totally spoiling the episodes.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

I have to review this because nobody else has. This review is spoiler free. I will publish spoiler review video during January or February when I relaunch my video reviews.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is biggest movie event of the year. It seems to be more event than movie. Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't take any changes. It adds as much nostalgia as possible, It is like original trilogy and some of the best Star Wars games mixed into one movie. If this is what you want you will enjoy the movie.

I wanted something more. Movie even has same shots original trilogy had. At times it hit our heads with references to original trilogy. Everything looked too much like original trilogy. Prequels didn't have anything like Han Solo. So in this one almost everything seems to be little like Han Solo. There is even joke how much like Han one of the new characters is.

My other issue was it didn't explain important concepts. I didn't understood balance between Empires successor First Order and The Resistance. One thing I wanted to know was what happened after Return of the Jedi. We are thrown into this world and nobody explains what has happened. I saw post of "10 things you need to know before watching The Force Awakens". I didn't read it because I wanted to avoid spoilers. I shouldn't have to read posts like that to understand what is happening. Movie should tell it. Avengers: Age of Ultron had same problem.

Overall movie was entertaining. It brought the fun back to Star Wars. It is not disaster like prequels. It is much more like original trilogy. Probably too much like original trilogy because it took too much from original trilogy. With correct audience this probably feel like great movie. There is enough fan service to keep devout fans happy. Like with other JJ Abrams' work it doesn't feel so good afterwards. But during the movie you are having fun.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lockout (2012)

How much you can copy another movie with out going too far. There is no clear line but according court Lockout crossed that line. The court ordered makers of Lockout to pay 35 000 euros to John Carpenter and others involved making Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. You can tell premise of Lockout by changing names in premise of Escape from New York. I think biggest issue how ever was that Lockout told original idea came from Luc Besson when movie follows so closely Escape from New York.

Protagonist Snow is almost carbon copy of Snake Plissken. Snake was criminal, Snow is only framed to be criminal and he doesn't have eye patch. President's daughter (Escape from L.A.) is trapped inside maximum security prison run by inmates (Escape from New York), In Escape from New York president was trapped inside prison. Protagonist is sent to save trapped character. Snow is not given time limit but everything else reminds Escape movies.

Snow accepts the deal because a man who can prove his innocence is inside that prison he needs to go. Snow's story arc didn't need Escape movies' premise. He was going to the prison anyway and he would have been released during the riot. All the plagiarism wasn't necessary for protagonists story arc. With few little changes it could have been dropped off. It was laziness to keep copied story elements.

If we forget plagiarism there is little to say about the movie. There are four characters with any personality. Snow is Snake Plissken copy. President's daughter is cliche female character who doesn't like the hero at first but becomes his girl by the end. Inmates' boss is mastermind criminal and his brother is insane psychopath. Others have too little screen time to have any personality. At least they don't have any written.

Story have couple nice twists but over all it is quite forgettable and biggest twist has no build up at all. Lockout is average science fiction action movie. Best things are stolen from Escape movies. Original things go from passable to stupid. Passable story elements happen in prison. Outside prison story elements and effects don't work.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Trek Beyond trailer review

I hoped third rebooted Star Trek movie would return closer to original material. JJ Abrams is not directing it. He turned it into Star Wars. New director has Fast & Furious background. He seem to have turned Star Trek into Fast & Furious in space. I like Star Wars and Fast & Furious but everything doesn't have to be the same.

Original Star Trek relied on good stories and science fiction concepts. Stories were interesting even without any action scenes. Reboot turned Star Trek into generic action scifi movie with story elements and designs from Star Trek. It forgot science fiction concepts. Movies would have been better other than Star Trek.

If I have to guess this is some kind of variant of Star Trek Insurrection story. They lose transport capability but not completely since Kirk can do. Motorbike doesn't make any sense in Star Trek concept. But this Fast & Furious in space and Fast & Furious needs motored vehicles.

I might like this if it wasn't Star Trek. I don't understand why remake had turn Star Trek something totally different. Fun action scifi movie are ok. Star Trek franchise was rare case of serious science fiction. There is not enough of that. There is more than enough of cgi action on current movies.

Monday, December 14, 2015

X-Men: Apocalypse trailer review

I didn't have time to do review for this Monday. So you get my thoughts of X-Men: Apocalypse trailer instead. I though doing same for Batman v Superman trailer earlier but I didn't have much to say about it and everyone else seems to be commenting it. I know X-Men better than Superman.

First promo pictures of Apocalypse made people compare him to Ivan Ooze. I talked about it on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers review. This trailer hides Apocalypse's face to extent it feels like a joke. Studio don't want to see comparisons any more. I think they will continue since Apocalypse still feels too much like Ivan Ooze.

I don't like his voice. He doesn't sound ancient nor powerful. Xavier has to say how powerful he is because he doesn't sound or look like powerful. He is more menacing in X-Men cartoons. Everything else seem to be right but voice ruins the character. He still looks bit like Ivan Ooze but I can believe Apocalypse could look like that. Another actor would have worked better on role. They can still save this by putting effort on sound design.

Second problem is we have seen all this before. First three X-Men movies are not part of current X-Men continuity but it doesn't mean we have forgotten them. Same director is doing new continuity and his style reminds us of old continuity which did similar things. You can do reboots but then you need to change the look and feel. Now Fox is trying to reboot with same look and feel.

This could be bigger problem than anyone expects. This movie gives us new Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey.Sets look like from first three movies but characters are different and have nothing to do with old characters. Director gives same look and feel than old movies had. This is sixth X-Men movie and it feels too much like first three. At least based on the trailer.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Doctor Who Series 9 Episodes 1-8 (2015)

Finland is couple weeks behind rest of the world with Doctor Who. That is why I didn't review every episode like I did last year. Rest of the world got season finale last weekend. I thought this is good point to give my thoughts of episodes I have seen this far. I have not seen all episodes aired in Finland yet. First eight is good point because they contain four two episode stories.

Peter Capaldi is becoming my favorite Doctor. During his first season they tried to figure out his character. That could be reason why Clara had so important role. This season they found good balance between fun and darkness. If we get at least couple more as good seasons with this Doctor he will become my number one.

Season started with Davros and Daleks. Steven Moffat seems to want us to remember somethings and forget others. This was obvious with first two episodes. Daleks' have lost all continuity during Moffat's era. You better take all Dalek episodes like individual stories without connectivity. As such these episodes work. Missy was fun. I like to see more of her in similar role.

Mind games between Davros and Doctor were interesting until childish ending. This could have been classic Doctor Who story but in the end they didn't have balls to end it like it should have ended. Even with childish ending I liked it because what happened before was so interesting and well acted.

Ghost underwater story was the clever story of this season. Every season seem to have at least one. This time is was about bootstrap paradox. Second episode had interesting breaking the fourth wall scene. Otherwise both episodes were good Doctor Who.

You can count next two episodes as one story or two individual stories. First one showed why Doctor gave eternal life to Maisie Williams' character. Second part showed what eternal life did to her. Second part was quite dark which I liked. There are rumors Maisie Williams will be new companion after Clara. I would like that because her character reminds me of Fourth Doctor's companion Leela. She was one of best companions.

Zygon invasion story was about terrorism, refugees and 50th anniversary episode. It brought back one of my favorite recurring character Osgood. Zygon invasion showed how good science fiction can help us understanding current events by offering different point of view.

I will get to last four episodes later. That time I discuss more about Clara.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dracula Untold (2014)

After Marvel had success with their cinematic universe everyone wanted to have their own cinematic universes. Dracula Untold launches Universal Monsters Universe if they happen to make other movies. This would make interesting universe with I Frankenstein (2015) if I Frankenstein was part of Universal Monsters Universe which it is not. Neither is Victor Frankenstein (2015) which is currently on theaters.

Dracula Untold mixes stories of real person Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) and fictive character of Dracula. It shows Dracula as good person who is forced to do some evil things. He has utilitarian philosophy which made him do horrible things for greater good. This time Turkish sultan wants Dracula's and sons of Dracula's subjects for his army. This starts war between Dracula and Sultan.

Sultan's forces are much stronger than Dracula's. Dracula takes curse from old vampire. He gets vampire's powers and hunger for blood. If he don't drink blood for three days he will return to human. We are talking about Dracula, most famous vampire of all time. Only question is why and how he will drink blood.

If you expect nothing but dark, good looking gothic power fantasy you probably like Dracula Untold. Movie looks good but is boring before Dracula takes the curse. After taking the curse movie becomes power fantasy and works better. At least if you don't think too much how characters' actions make sense.

Dracula has three days to beat Sultan's forces if he wants to get back to human. He attacks Sultan's forces first night and spends rest of three days taking his people to safer castle which turned out not to be as safe as one they left behind. If he had limited time he should have used it attacking Sultan's force as much as he could. Not waiting to have the big battle at the end of his curse when he could lose his powers during the battle.

Movie is full of similar plot holes and stupid actions. If you can get past them you can enjoy the movie. Script had interesting idea of telling origin story of Dracula and mixing it with real historic person of same name but trying to portray Dracula as a good guy didn't work this time. He was made good guy for Universal Monsters Universe. Are we getting good Mummy and Frankenstein monster next?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jessica Jones (2015)

I am bit late to the party. I had idea of making video review but I am having break until I launch updated version of video reviews some time next year. I will get back to it when I have something to show. I watched the show almost one sitting. I had to pause to go to sleep during last episode but I watch it first thing when I woke up. How ever making review has taken some time.

Netflix has given best Marvel Cinematic Universe content this year. Daredevil was great earlier this year and Jessica Jones is even better. Ant-Man and Avengers were only ok movies. Netflix originals have more time to make connections and they are not as tightly connected to movies or other shows. They are also much darker than other Marvel Cinematic Universe content.

Jessica Jones is broken down alcoholic superhero. Villain with mind controlling powers broke her down and now he is back. I had my doubts of David Tennant playing the villain Kilgrave. He is my favorite Doctor and during his time in Doctor Who he didn't look like someone who could be villain. He made Kilgrave work, You felt sorry for Kilgrave at the times but you never confused him with good guy.

Kilgrave is in top three of Marvel Cinematic Universe's villains with Loki and Kingpin. These are only villains I can name and only ones which aren't one dimensional bad guys. Two of them from Netflix originals.

I didn't know anything about Jessica Jones when I started watching. After watching the show I learned about connections and characters. I think show worked better because I didn't know what to expect. There were interesting characters and twists which worked because I didn't know characters from comics.

If I need to complain something it is phasing. Show is pure gold during first ten episodes. After that it feels like they had to come up with something to fill all thirteen episodes. Killgrave story arc started from first episode. Starting it later would have kept it tighter. Ten episodes worked perfectly. First season made some ground work for second season and next Captain America movie. We saw one familiar face from Daredevil. Will we see Jessica Jones and Daredevil meeting next year?

Monday, November 30, 2015

This Island Earth (1955)

Hollywood seems to be remaking everything these days. Everything else than movies actually deserving remake. Studios choose movies which were masterpieces or at least great first time when they should choose ones which didn't live up to their potential first time. This Island Earth is one of those movies.

I have seen it twice now. I didn't remember almost anything from the first time because ending was so rushed. This Island Earth has two parts. First one happens on Earth and second on space and alien planet. Earth part works but as soon as movie leaves Earth everything feels rushed and events happen conveniently fast and correct order. Alien planet part feels like they run from one scene to another without stopping once.

Alien world felt interesting but it nor the politics which lead the current situation were explained. There was something interesting there which could be studied in remake. In this movie everything came so quickly and characters didn't have time to be anything but one dimensional caricatures.

It was nice to see macho scientist hero. In modern movies scientist are weird, nerds or both. In This Island Earth scientist flies on his own jet and looks and acts like manly man. I think we need similar role models for scientists nowadays too.

This Island Earth looks good for the 1950's science fiction. You can see matte paintings but they look good for their purpose. Story is interesting only problem is rushing at the end. One reason could be last half had most of special effects and director didn't want to spend too much time on alien planet.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

I have reviewed many science fiction movies from time before Star Wars lately. This is from time after Star Wars. Worst thing Star Wars brought was all the copy cats which replaced more thoughtful science fiction movie. Battle Beyond the Stars is good example of those movie. It is not the worst but you can't call it good either.

It is Roger Corman movie. Roger Corman is famous for making movies with low budget and making money with them. Roger Corman has made taking all out of low budget into art. You probably don't think low budget too much during the movie but after the movie you might realize how low budget changed the story.

Evil space tyrant gives peaceful planet ultimatum. Peaceful planet sends one man to find warriors to fight the tyrant. He returns with random group of warriors who have different reasons to fight. Movie takes story from Seven Samurai (1954) or its western remake The Magnificent Seven (1960) and takes it to space. Instead of samurais or cowboys it has aliens which look more like from Star Trek than from Star Wars.

Low budget shows in final battle. To be honest it shows throughout the movie but it becomes problem in final battle. Each warrior attacks one by one. They have different powers and with combining them they could be more effective but everyone attacks alone. When they die or run out of powers next one attacks alone. This start to feel strange after few times but it continues until there is only one left and he attacks alone.

Battle Beyond the Stars exists to cash on Star Wars mania which it did. It has enough similarities to Star Wars to keep the audience happy. It concentrates more on similarities than the story. It is only good for Star Wars fix when you could not buy Star Wars to watch it on your home or cinematic studies how to use your budget efficiently.

Monday, November 23, 2015

When Worlds Collide (1951)

2012(2009) was not officially remake of When Worlds Collide but it took so much from that movie it could have been. Like War of the Worlds (2005) it changed focus point from scientists to real people living in the events of the story. When Worlds Collide tells about the people who build the space ships. 2012 told about the race to the space ships.

When Worlds Collide has much less last second escapes than 2012. It also has different reason for Earth's destruction. This time reason is rogue star and planet orbiting it coming too close to Earth. In 2012 space ships came back to Earth. In this they go to planet orbiting the rogue star.

When Worlds Collide is serious science fiction movie but if you know your science you will see some problems. 2012 had own problems with science but not with number of survivors cause genetic bottle neck which probably would kill the species if they would survive on alien planet without supplies.

When Worlds Collide follows attempt to build space ship to save mankind. Building is race against time and effects of approaching rogue star. Not everyone can be in ship. Some get selected and others will have lottery for the rest of the seats.

Movie misses opportunity here by having only male lead to thinking about seats and is he worth the seat. We will know he will be there because he is the male lead. Minor character having same thoughts would have worked better because we would have not been sure.

When Worlds Collide brings The War of the Worlds (1953) to mind. Both have same producer George Pal. This might be reason why movies have so much same themes and feel so similar. When Worlds Collide feel like first attempt and The War of the World the final product. When Worlds Collide is not a bad movie. It just is not as good as The War of the Worlds and feel bit too similar.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Why I had not heard about The Day the Earth Caught Fire before this? It is one of the best science fiction movies from 60's and I had not seen the name anywhere before this. Is it because it is not American movie but a British one?

The Day the Earth Caught Fire starts with news reporter walking in post apocalyptic city. He is going to office to write what had happened. Flashbacks tell us what has happened previous days and what happened to Earth. 50's science fiction movies told stories from scientists point of view and from the center of the story.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire follows news reporter who was given task to write about sun spots and how they cause strange weather they are having. He tries to contact scientists but they throw him out. That is last moment we see scientists in this movie. Scientists don't want truth to be told because it is too horrible.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire never goes to center of the story where scientist try to figure out what has happened and how to fix it. Movie  follows normal people like the news reporter who live like nothing major has happened and later figure what is really going on. It follows normal people living their life in world turning into waste land.

I am not going to spoil the ending. It is quite powerful and made movie much better. There is no flip of a switch which makes everything better. We don't actually see what will happen next. Neither does the characters. This makes movie's message more powerful.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire is not only one of the best science fiction movies from 60's. It is also one of the all time best science fiction movies. It is shame it is not better known and people don't see it because of that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hype is Strong with Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Random BS with Kvesti

My take on Star Wars: The Force awakens hype. My YouTube channel has not died even when I don't post so much from there to here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Thaw aka Arctic Outbreak (2009)

The Thaw is science fiction horror movie with environmental message. Somehow it makes people who care about environment and climate change look bad. Melting ice releases ancient deadly parasite. Scientific expedition contacts parasite just before few students join them. Instead of putting themselves into quarantine they let students to come to the base camp.

No one is at base camp when they land. No one but carcass of dead polar bear and parasites. This is where movie starts to go wrong way. Instead of keeping us guessing who is infected and who is not movie clearly shows us who is infected. For some reason infection works differently for each person depending on what story requires at that point.

I am not kidding. For every single person has different symptoms and rate of spread. There was two symptoms which two characters had but everything else was different for these two too. There was change to make movie about paranoia this situation causes but only paranoid character was one of the infected.

Script is movie's biggest problem. There is "big twist" but you saw that coming if you paid attention to the movie. It is a shame they didn't put more effort into script because everything else works. Cinematography, effects and acting feel almost too good for straight to dvd movie. Not great but suitable for better movie. What problems characters have are from script not from actors.

I liked idea of horror movie where the threat is realistic and message which may change people act better. However that is not enough. The Thaw wastes potential by doing poor choices. It is not a bad movie. Just average.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun aka Doppelgänger (1969)

Another science fiction movie from time before Star Wars ruined it all for serious science fiction movies. Original Star Wars trilogy was good but it changed what people expected from science fiction movies. Before Star Wars the idea was important. After Star Wars visual effects and action took more important role. Science Fiction movies with interesting ideas were still made but market was floated with Star Wars influenced movies.

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun is good example of old science fiction movies where the idea is most important. Satellite finds new planet another side of the sun. Mission is send to study the planet. Ship crashes to planet. When surviving astronaut wakes up he is told he is back on Earth after three weeks when mission should have taken six weeks.

Astronaut is sure they didn't turn back and he is sure they crashed to new planet. After a while he realizes everything is mirror image of what he remembers from Earth. This leads to twist which is spoiled in original name. Journey to the Far Side of the Sun is better name and describes movie better.

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun stays serious science fiction through out the movie. It doesn't become action movie. It is closer to horror than action. It felt little like Twilight Zone episode at times but only a little. Twilight Zone would have told the story differently but it could have told the same story.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Battle Beyong the Sun (1959)

Battle Beyond the Sun is American re-edit of Soviet movie Nebo Zovyot. Battle Beyond the Sun is thirteen minutes shorter but it has monsters. Monsters were only issue in otherwise good hard science fiction movie. They felt like from another movie. After watching the movie I learned it was edited from Soviet movie. Which explained why it felt different and why Americans were shown in bad light.

Battle Beyond the Sun happens in near future of 1997 after world has been divided into two fractions, North Hemis and South Hemis. South Hemis take things seriously while North Hemis is reckless and dangers themselves to show the South Hemis. North Hemis felt like evil Americans even before I knew this was originally Soviet movie.

South Hemis is about to send mission to Mars when North Hemis ship lands to their space station. On dinner they South Hemis scientists tell about the mission. North Hemis has also planned similar mission but they are not ready yet. They are willing to try to make it to Mars to beat the South Hemis. South Hemis ship could get to Mars but they save North Hemis ship. South Hemis ship has to land on asteroid without enough fuel to get back to earth.

Like other science fiction movies from behind the Iron Curtain Battle Beyond the Sun is refreshing view from different kind of society. These movies are more thoughtful and collaboration is more important. Original movie had someone dying because he flew unprotected ship. In this version he was killed by monsters. At least that is what Wikipedia says. I have not seen the original movie.

Like I said in beginning of this review monsters were only issue I had with this movie and they were added later. I would like to see the original which is longer and don't have monsters.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Spectre (2015) more spoilers and ranting

First review got quite long and I had to drop some things out. I kept spoilers mild. This time I have big spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

I didn't mention Batista in first review. He was completely wasted in this movie. I could not understand his character. He was there when movie needed something intimidating. I don't remember him saying anything. He was some kind of anti-bond. First time we see him in Spectre meeting when he kills someone in front of everyone. He chases Bond when Bond escapes the meeting.

Next time we see him when he kidnaps movie's female lead. Third and last time is when he attacks Bond in train. Bond and female lead are on they way to Blofeld's place. Blofeld is waiting them. It made no sense for Blofeld to send Batista to kill Bond. Movie probably needed action scene at that point.

So Blofeld's father adopted Bond and Bond and Blofeld were brothers until Blofeld killed his father because of this. That is even more stupid than what Austin Powers and Dr. Evil had. I don't remember this from previous movies or books. It wasn't enough villain was master mind of global crime syndicate. He had to be hero's brother too and responsible of death of all women in Bond's life. I thought M's death was ex-agent's revenge but no, it was because of Blofeld. Everything evil is because of Blofeld.

I think Bond found his right one. Madeleine Swann couldn't have sex before killing someone minutes before like Bond did. They are clearly meant for each others. If they continue like this they will be villains of next movie when other agents hunt serial killer couple.

I don't know if this was theater's or movie's fault but movie looked like someone skipped at least one step in color grading process. Everything looked light low contrast brown. Just like they forgot to put colors and contrast back to movie.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Spectre (2015)

Last time I saw Bond movie in theater he was played by Timothy Dalton. I wasn't sure if I should check this in theater or not. I decided to do it because of this blog an my Finnish video reviews. Trailer didn't feel interesting but early reviews told this was good. I have to spoil movie little bit to explain why it is so bad. I leave major spoilers out of this review. There will be post with major spoilers next Thursday.

Bond is sick and twisted serial killer. Bond can't have sex unless he has killed someone few minutes before and I am not sure if that is enough. Bond has sex twice. Both times he had killed someone few minutes before. He killed first woman's husband earlier. He gave gun to second woman's father and watched him kill himself.

Third woman wanted Bond but he had to go for quick kill before they could have sex. When things got complicated they didn't have sex. I am not kidding. All this happened. Our hero is serial killer who can't have sex if he has not killed anyone only moments before. Good role model for kids and that is not all.

Bond don't care if he lives or dies. In first action scene he fights against helicopter pilot in helicopter. Helicopter almost crashes few times but Bond doesn't care. He just tries to kill the pilot not caring if helicopter crashes or not. Pilot cares little bit. There are no stakes if your hero doesn't show he could die. We have seen good action scenes in moving vehicles where guys fight and steer vehicle when it is about to crash. Fighting continues when it is safer to fight. There is nothing like that in this scene.

Spectre tries to be realistic. It doesn't work when nothing hurts your hero. There is even a scene which explains how Bond is hurt but few seconds later he doesn't look or act like he is hurt. Older Bond movies didn't try to be realistic. That made them fun.

Spectre makes effort to be least fun it can possible be. Fast & Furious 7 (2015) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) are much better Bond movies because they are fun. Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) told same story much better. I even waited for someone to say "Hail Hydra" because this was so close to Winter Soldier, only much worse.

Blofeld was given history with Bond and revealed to be behind everything bad in Bond's life because why not. Having your villain to be master mind behind global criminal organization is not enough. He has to be connected with your hero. I didn't believe where they went with this because it was so stupid and went even more stupid as more was revealed- Another twist is so obvious you can see it as soon as you see the character. You just wait for twist to come.

Spectre is probably Daniel Craig's last Bond movie. He had some harsh word to say about the franchise during promo tour. Craig's era started strong with Casino Royale and was down hill from that point on. Second movie didn't feel like complete movie. It felt more like first part of two part movie. Skyfall (2012) and Spectre feel like Bond movies by people who hate Bond movies. Both suffer from the fact they are Bond movies.

Spectre is fitting ending for Craig's era. It concludes everything and sends Bond away. If this continues next movie won't have agents stuff. It is time for a change and new guy.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)

I watched Robinson Crusoe on Mars because someone told it is 60's version of The Martian (2015). First half could be seen as such. I don't know what was scientific understanding of Mars at the time. If you study history of science you will learn science has got it wrong many times. First half could follow scientific understanding of the time but I doubt it because last half certainly doesn't.

First half is about astronaut surviving on Mars with monkey after crash landing. He has limited supply of air and water. When he is running out of them he finds new sources of both.First minutes feel scientifically accurate but accuracy goes down each moment. Soon he is walking on Mars without spacesuit and takes oxygen only every now and then.

At halfway point astronaut finds his Friday who is slave of advanced race. This point also introduces flying saucers and bombardments. Flying saucers bombard Mars when they search for Friday who escaped them. Movie turns into astronaut and Friday running from flying saucers. Then astronaut is saved. It comes out of the blue. Spaceship just lands and movie ends.

This left dozens of question open. Why flying saucers didn't attack space ship? Flying saucers had advanced weaponry and space ship had nothing. Flying Saucers were much more advanced than anything on Earth. Why they stayed on Mars and not attacked Earth? Why the astronaut was only earthling to see them? There were other astronauts orbiting Mars.What happens to Friday? Does he go to Earth or stay on Mars?

I don't need my science fiction movies to explain everything but I like to have explanations on big issues. Flying saucers were shown as threat but as soon as spaceship lands they are gone. There were few other too convenient things too but this was biggest problem. I would have liked this more without Friday and flying saucers. Just like The Martian.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) & Red Zone Cuba (1966)

I think I can combine these two Coleman Francis movies. Those who say Ed Wood makes worst movies have not seen any Coleman Francis' movies. Manos - The Hands of Faith (1966) is said to be worst movie ever made but at least it was weird. These two are just painfully boring.

The Beast of Yucca Flats is less worse of these two for two reasons. I can't call it better. It is shorter and has narrator. Both movies have reading lines from paper level acting, terrible editing and senseless story. Shorter length is big deal and narrator helps to follow the story.

I had to rewind few times with Red Zone Cuba because I thought I had missed something. It is hard to concentrate on Coleman Francis' movie and you think you missed something because what is happening on screen doesn't make sense with what just happened. Each time I had not missed anything. Story just didn't make any sense.

This was worst with Red Zone Cuba when men went into bar, ordered something and next moment they were choking bartender. There was no reason for choking but it happened. Editing or acting didn't give any reason for choking. Music was only thing indicating how characters feel or how we should feel. It is quite disorienting when music and acting were so disconnected.

The Beast of Yucca Flats is science fiction story of scientist who is turned into monster by atom bomb. This might sound lot like Marvel's Hulk who appeared into comics 1962 but Hulk is not inspired by this. Hulk smashs. The Beast of Yucca Flats chokes. Coleman Francis seems to have fetish for choking. As he does with shooting people from helicopter or aeroplane.

Red Zone Cuba's story is bit weirder and I honestly couldn't understand all of it. Guy escapes from prison. He meets two ex-convict who want to start honest new life. Then they end up to Cuba on Bay of the Pigs Invasion. Cubans capture them. They escape from prison camp. They start to kill random people. They stop killing because they don't want cops after them. Cops find them anyway.

It was hard to follow without narrator. Not that narrator in The Beast of Yucca Flats was any good. Narrator just told what film makers wanted us to know. Nothing else did. Red Zone Cuba is worst film I have seen. Opening is bad but it is nothing compared to what will come. Bad editing, bad acting and bad story. Red Zone Cuba got it all. What makes it worst movie is because is it so boring. Scenes seem to last forever and characters are uninteresting.Things just happen and you don't care. You just hope it is over.

Coleman Francis has made third movie The Skydivers (1963). I was curious enough to put it on but not curious enough to concentrate on it. After few minutes I realized it is not worth the effort but I let it run on background while doing something else. It has everything you can expect from Coleman Francis movie including bad acting, bad editing and shooting people from aeroplane.

It is not Red Zone Cuba level bad but I can't say anything good about it except skydiving scenes looked somewhat professional.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Continuum 4th season

If video is not shown, you can watch it here.

I had to make video review of fourth and last season of Continuum. I have already done video reviews of all previous seasons. You can find them from: Continuum: First SeasonContinuum: Second Season and Continuum: Third Season.

Fourth season concludes Continuum stories. Check the video to know what I thought about it.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lucy (2014)

I wouldn't have believed best thing in Luc Besson movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman is length. With Lucy this is the case. Movie is based on myth you use only 10 % of your brains. Luc Besson may have seen Lawnmower Man (1992) and inspired to make this afterwards. How ever he didn't inspired to make complete movie. This feels more like work in progress than final product.

When I watch science fiction movie I expect some level of realism. Movie can have unrealistic things in it. But country where killing is not illegal or big thing is not what I expect to see if it is not a theme of the movie in any way. Movie starts in Asian country where gangsters kill people like it is not a big thing.

One character is killed at the front door of expensive hotel. More people are killed inside hotel room. Hotel room looks like site of massacre. When Lucy escapes the gangsters she kills taxi driver out in open just for reason he doesn't speak English. Then she goes to hospital when she kills patient and ask doctors to operate on her.

Lucy is blackmailed to become drug smuggler. Drug package get broken inside her. This gives her more use of her brains and she gains supernatural powers. Lucy's development follows Lawnmower Man's development quite close. Lucy feels like Lawnmower Man with different premise and modern effects.

Lucy don't stay consistent. Movie throws us different things all the time. Lucy should be extra smart but she left gangsters alive so they can be there at the end of the movie. She had no problem killing a taxi driver but she don't kill gangsters who wants to kill her.

I have not gone into Lucy's superpowers because they make no sense. Why using more of your brain gives you telekinesis and let you see radio waves? Why getting 100% use of your brain lets you leave your body and live in internet? Almost same happened in Lawnmower Man.

This movie is only 90 minutes long. It is such a mess shorter length is really good thing. Anything can happen because nothing makes sense. There are no stakes because anything can happen. Movie tries to be cool. It doesn't work at all if you didn't think it is cool. It is hard to see it as cool when everything made so little sense.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

I had to watch Tucker and Dale vs. Evil after I heard second recommendation. This time it was listed along with Moon and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Both movies are among my favorites of this decade. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is not but it is still worth seeing.

Movie is parody of movies where college kids go to woods and are attacked by local hilly billies. This time the hilly billies are the good guys. Tucker has bought cabin in the woods and is there to fix it with his friend Dale. Group of college kids camp at nearby lake. Misunderstandings and horror story by fire makes college kids think Tucker and Dale are after them.

This results accidental deaths which mix splatter to slapstick. Movie is always at the brink of not working. It is 90 minute movie. The joke almost don't last as long. They have to change style bit for ending. Movie would have worked better ten of fifteen minutes shorter but then it would have missed magic 90 minutes mark more.

Movie lacks interesting characters. Tucker and Dale have personalities but most of collage kids don't have personalities of their own. Movie works only on humor from misunderstandings and innovative ways people accidentally die. This is barely enough for length of the movie. But the movie works. You may need to know the genre to enjoy the movie.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Martian (2015)

The Martian is a movie have been waiting for long time. Big budget hard science fiction movie which stays scientifically accurate through out the movie.  Interstellar (2014) was sold us as such but ending was anything but scientifically accurate. Trailer made the movie look more like action movie. I think it almost has more action than the movie itself.

Posters told this movie was from director of Alien and Blade Runner. That was good sign because both movies are high on my favorite movies list. Blade Runner being first on the list. Ridley Scott has made big movies since but nothing has surpassed those two. This won't do that either but on my list this his best movie since Blade Runner.

Story itself is quite simple. Mars mission has to be evacuated due storm but one man is left behind. He has to survive on Mars until he can be saved from the planet. Problem is he doesn't have enough supplies. This is premise for movie where most scientifically inaccurate thing is the storm at the beginning and how hard it is to make water on Mars.  Making water on Mars is easier than movie lets us believe.

Movie don't have romance or villain. Closest thing to villain is planet Mars which just is hostile to any life. Movie is based on web novel which was published in little parts and corrected if there were any scientifically inaccurate things. Water and storm were only thing left to novel and out of those water was left because no one knew better at the time. Storm was left because story needed the reason the astronaut to be left on Mars.

Premise and film length may make this sound like boring movie. I felt like it too before the movie but everything worked better than I expected. I hope this does well in box office and we see more movies like this.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

If video is not shown, you can watch it here.

I am back to making videos. I won't make this weekly thing. I try to make one or two videos a week to keep my YouTube channel alive. Blog posts are still more popular than videos but I hope videos catch up when I become better.

You can think this as season two of my videos. What is better way to start second season than review second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I reviewed first season here. It was video review so I had excuse to make this video review too.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

2010 (1984)

2010 is sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is movie's biggest problem. 2001 was weird masterpiece. 2010 is much more like normal movie. It is hard science fiction movie with little weirdness of 2001. Movie is based on Arthur C Clarke's novel. Story is interesting but it lacks genius of Stanley Kubrick. I like 2010 but I have problem with it being sequel to 2001.

Movie feels bit weird watching it 2015. When it was made Soviet Union was still strong and looked like it will still be there 2010. That didn't happen. Movie tells collaborative space flight of Soviet Union and USA. If you replace Soviet Union with Russia that has happened. When movie was made space flight like that didn't look realistic.

World is brink of nuclear war which reflects to the space flight. Space flight is collaborative mission to 2001's space ship. Soviet Union can make it in time but they don't know enough of 2001's space ship. USA knows but they can't make it in time. This forces both sides to work together. Crew can work together but situation in Earth makes thing problematic.

2010 is hard science fiction movie. It stays realistic through out the movie if you don't count monoliths and what they do. Movie explains many mysteries of 2001. Some may find this taking away the greatness of 2001. Explaining suits tone of this movie.

2010 is good example of hard science fiction movie. You don't need close calls if you have interesting story and good characters. Movie has good message even today. It is kind of shame it is 2001 sequel and not standalone movie. It is too good to be just a sequel to masterpiece like 2001.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Core (2004)

The Core is one of those science fiction disaster movies which get science terrible wrong. This time disaster is earth's core stopping. While movie gets some scientific concepts right most is terrible wrong. Lately Hollywood has started to listen real scientists but this was done before that.

The Core is quite generic and forgettable. There are no characters you will remember after the movie is over. Narcissistic scientist is only one with any personality and even he is one dimensional and his character arc is predictable. Predictability is big problem  Hilary Swank's character does couple unpredictable things but that is about it.  Those unpredictable things almost make her character interesting but nothing comes out of that.

I always wonder why science fiction disaster movies want to look hard science fiction movies. Why not have science right if you want to look scientific and realistic? Even if you don't catch scientific mistakes too many close calls eat realism. The Core start to feel like slasher when characters start to die one by one. They either sacrifice themselves to help others or die when crew gets into problems.

I understand they are doing something dangerous but it is so consistent it don't feel realistic. When they have any problems you can be almost sure someone dies. It would have been a twist is everyone survived at least one problematic situation. I am not counting ending because two characters we have followed through out the movie can't die. The Core won't take changes like that.

If you really have to watch science fiction disaster movie you can make worse choice than The Core. If you don't think too much it is well made movie and there are not major flaws. Science is off the mark but otherwise there are no major flaws.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kung Fu Killer aka Kung Fu Jungle aka Last of the Best aka Yi ge ren de wu lin (2014)

When I watched this movie it was called Kung Fu Killer which is good name for what it is. Last of the Best is even better. Wikipedia and IMDB seems to know this as Kung Fu Jungle. That name doesn't make any sense. Kung Fu Killer sounds bit dumb but at least there is a kung fu killer. There is no jungle.

I expected  dumb kung fu action movie because name sounded like it. But for a movie named Kung Fu Killer this had little kung fu action for first ten or fifteen minutes. It skips two potential action scenes and starts action scenes by fight which is questionable from story's point of view. Our hero picks fight in prison to get to talk to detectives.

Hahou Ma is kung fu master who accidentally killed his opponent during a fight. He is in prison when he sees someone targeting other kung fu masters. He promises to help police to find the killer. Movie is detective movie first and kung fu movie second. This is why it skips first two action scenes. While watching skipping felt odd but when action starts there is plenty of it and skipping first two action scenes felt good idea.

There is some pseudo kung fu philosophy but in the end kung fu doesn't matter. Kung fu masters can do what they want if they are good enough. But if they want to live in society they have to have real jobs. Hahou Ma and Killer are only ones without real jobs. Hahou Ma is in jail and Killer lives underground.

Killer is like old time kung fu master who want to show he is the best by challenging other kung fu masters to fight to the death. I thought, did other masters lose because they knew consequences of killing someone and held back. Killer didn't care. For him kung fu was meant for killing.

Overall I liked the movie. It wasn't cheap dumb kung fu movie. Kung fu action was good but not the main thing. There were few good twists. Movie looked really good except couple cgi effects when they were not needed. Most names are bad but the movie is good.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2010)

Movies based on video games are generally not masterpieces. I can only name one which is generally considered as good or should I say liked. First Mortal Kombat movie took Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon and modified it to Mortal Kombat movie. If felt like someone playing live action version of the game. It doesn't have cinematic values but as a video game movie it works. It turned game into a movie.

Other video game based movies have got more polarized reactions. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is competent but quite forgettable movie. Movie is faithful to source material. Main character is parkouring almost all the time. They focused into making this like games but forgot to make interesting story. It is just action scene after action scene.

Characters grow during the movie but it isn't always sure why they change at that point. Love story takes first they can't stand each others cliche too far. Then at some point they love each others. We have seen this too many times and this doesn't even try to hide this is going into that way.

Love story is not only thing taken too far. Some action scenes take it too far. Solders had bad case of storm trooper syndrome. They can't hit anything. Sorry. They can only hit other solders not our hero. Action scenes look good but lose effectiveness after too many close calls. I liked parkour sections. They looked like from live action platform video game.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time looks pretty but there is very little beneath surface. It probably keep you entertained if you like the genre. How ever there are much better movies if you want to see movie of same genre. Ones with interesting characters and story.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Outcast (2014)

I can see what Outcast tries to be. It is western version of Chinese wuxia films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Main story is son and daughter of emperor escaping their older brother who wants to be next emperor. Two former crusaders help the son and daughter. While movie mostly tries to follow wuxia genre there are western influences too. Western influences are not the only problem.

Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen are former crusaders who left crusades after seeing what crusades did to them. Cage is Christensen's mentor. He left to China earlier and Christensen followed. Both characters are drunk or high throughout the movie. Cage is alcoholic and Christensen opium addict but both are still great warriors. Christensen can kill group of solders when he can barely walk or see what is happening.

Movie's problems culminate to Cage and Christensen. Cage is Crazy Cage and Christensen is stoned Anakin. Christensen was ok in Jumper (2008). But this time he is Anakin who has found drugs. It doesn't help that both characters are badly written. Their actions don't make sense. Neither does some other characters'.

Worst stupidity is when Cage's gang defend dead end. They send the son and daughter deeper into cave but Christensen bring them out when everyone else has died. At one point they acted like they could escape through the cave and next they acted like they couldn't.

Wuxia films I have seen usually don't have clearly evil character. This movie makes older brother clearly evil and hits us head with it just in case we don't get it. Without that wuxia parts generally work even thought they are quite generic.

Outcast ends up being big mess with generic wuxia and alcoholic and junkie. There is sequel in plans. I just don't know why. Idea could have worked with better script and Cage and Christensen replaced by more suitable actors. I almost said better but Cage is good actor when he wants to be. This is not one of those movies.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big Hero 6 is animated movie for kids but it is better superhero movie than most superhero movies. While watching it I thought this is what Fantastic Four should have been. Story follows fourteen year old boy. Everything related to fourteen year old boy cut away and replaced by Fantastic Four and you have good Fantastic Four movie. This even has Stan Lee cameo.

Big Hero 6 is inspired by Marvel comic of same name. As far as I know this is quite different than the comic. I have not read the comic but I know characters from other comics. Comic is even more obscure than Guardian of the Galaxy before the movie.

Hiro is fourteen year old tech genius who participates in robot fights until his older brother Tadashi takes him to nerd school for a tour. Hiro likes the school and he applies to school with his nano robots. Nano robots steal the show but later nerd school is burned down killing Tadashi.

Hiro is left with his aunt and Tadashi's medical robot Baymax. Soon Hiro finds out his nano robots weren't destroyed in fire. This starts adventure which creates new superhero group Big Hero 6 and teaches Hiro some facts of life.

Movie has many cliches like at first group doesn't work but they learn to work together when time comes. Now that I think about it this follows quite common template but it doesn't feel forced at any time. Big reason is Baymax who is quite unique character. Baymax only wants to heal people. It becomes superhero only to make Hiro feel better.

Movie makes nerdy science kids superheroes. Inventing new stuff is cool. I was bit disappointed when movie turned into superhero movie. Characters we more interesting before they became superheroes. Pace also changes and there were less quiet moments which were best thing in this movie.

I am curious to know where idea to make this kind of version of Big Hero 6 came from. Disney owns Marvel so they could use name this way. Sony owns X-Men and some how term mutant superheros. Some of comic Big Hero 6 characters are from X-Men comics. Probably Disney or Marvel Studios can't use them in movies. This wasn't move against Sony because this is genuinely good movie. Idea had to come from somewhere.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rise of the Template Movies

This is a topic I have planned to discuss for months. I don't know if these kind of movies have popular term. I like to call them template movies. Template movies are movies where template and requirements are more important than the story.

Classic examples are Bond movies. They start with action scene followed by animated opening credits. Then we have scene with Moneypenny before Bond meets with M. After meeting with M Bond goes to see Q to get some gadgets and see crazy inventions. After this template give more room for story but we will still get similar things in similar interval. Terms Bond villain, Bond car and Bond girl exists because every movie has similar type of villain, luxury cars and women in similar roles.

Later Bond movies have taken more liberties from Bond template. Skyfall (2012) have drifted so far from the template that it would have been better if it forgot the template. Earlier when you went to see Bond movie you knew what you will get. Just like when you went to fast food chain restaurant.

There have been other template movies through out the years like slasher movies. But Marvel Studios' movie have brought template movies back to main stream again. Fast & Furious movies tried to be different from each others so I would not put all of them as template movies even though they are very similar.

Marvel Studios have taken this concept even further. They have dozen movies in pipeline and every movie is connected to other movies. This has brought requirements to template movies. Bond movies were made one by one. Marvel Studios make several movies and tv shows at same time and everything is loosely connected.

This means Marvel Studios movies have template, few key moments and outcome decided before they decide who will write the movie or who will direct it. Then they bring talented creative people to fill the blanks. So far this has produced at least entertaining movies and few frustrated creative people. Some creative people find constraints of given framework too limiting.

Avengers: Age of Ultron showed why this approach may not work in long run. Avengers is Marvel Studios' flagship property which means it has to connect to almost everything. It started to feel like there was more build up and conclusion to everything else than movie's story.

Joss Whedon's interviews have been interesting. He was forced to have all the connections he didn't want. After finishing the movie he wanted to make something of his own and original. Joss Whedon is not the only creative person who has become frustrated working with Marvel Studios pre-planned templates and requirements.

Ant-Man worked better since it didn't have so much connections. Connections it had felt forced when you stopped to think. They were there to bring Ant-Man to next Captain America movie. So far best Marvel Studios' movie have been Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy which had least build up for upcoming movies. Later movies seem to be more interested of upcoming movies than themselves.

Other studios have tried to copy Marvel's formula with lesser success. They have brought bad things of Marvel Studios' way of making movies. They have forgotten they still have to make good movies. Next year we see what Warner Bros can do with DC's superheroes. They have far reaching plans and several movies in production but we have seen only one movie which wasn't too good. How tight template and requirements they have remains to be seen.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Automata (2014)

Automata is like movies I usually like. It is slow and beautiful science fiction movie. It has interesting premise and few good ideas. But it doesn't make me care about it. It tries to have least interesting characters possible. I understand why robots are like they are but I don't get why main character Jacq has to be so uninteresting.

Jacq is burned out insurance investigator who doesn't care about anything. He wants to leave the city and go to coast. There may not be any seas left because water has gone and everything is wasteland. Jacq's wife is about to give birth to their first child. Jacq doesn't want child into world they live in. If Jacq doesn't care about anything why should I?

Robots have two rules. They can't harm anything living and they can't modify themselves or other robots. Only robot manufacturers can modify or repair robots. "Clocksmiths" modify robots illegally. This cause robots to malfunction and Jacq is called to investigate.

In his latest case Jacq see robots behaving oddly. One is preparing itself and another burns itself. This is science fiction movie about artificial intelligence. So it is easy to guess where this is going. Points for the movie not making robots too human like. Robots look like robots and act like robots. They never become human like. They even rip off their faces to show they have cut themselves from humans.

While this is good idea it put more pressure to have interesting human characters. Movie revolves around Jacq who doesn't care until nothing changes and he cares about something. Jacq's only character trait is he wants to get away. Wife's character trait is she is pregnant and she gives birth. Then there are police/bounty hunter and hitmen who hate robots and Jacq. Movie doesn't give me any reason to care about any of them.

Same topic is studied better in The Machine and Ex Machina. Movie has few interesting twists but main story has too much cliches and is too predictable. I wanted to like this. Interesting main character would have helped. Making movie 90 minutes long would have also helped. Now it is 110 minutes. There is not enough story for movie that long.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Thoughts on The Martian trailer

I didn't have time to write proper post form start to finish for this Monday. So you get this draft for additional post turned into proper post. I am not turning my blog into this, This is just one time thing.

The Martian is based on hard science fiction novel. Few months ago I listened one hour podcast where author of the novel talked about science of The Martian. If I remember correctly novel had one unrealistic element and it was storms on Mars. Everything else was in realm of possibility at least in theory.

I have not read the novel. My knowledge is limited to the podcast but I think novel is not as full of action as this trailer. The Martian seems to follow trend of Gravity and Interstellar as movie which is kind of hard science fiction but ends up being something else. Gravity went from slow and realistic to fast and full of last second escapes. Interstellar just went weird for last fifteen minutes after being quite scientific until that.

I was curious about The Martian but not so much after seeing the trailers. It could be we saw most of the action in trailers but I doubt that. Hard science fiction can be interesting. Interstellar didn't need weirdness. It would have had different tone but it would have worked better. I guess they followed too much 2001: A Space Odyssey which ends weirdly. In 2001 weirdness was alien communication human could not understand. In Interstellar it turned out to be important story element.

Gravity could have stayed slower like it started. Stakes were high enough with out turning the movie into unrealistic roller coaster ride. You can make good hard science fiction movies. When big budget is included these movies tend to forget hard science fiction at some point even if it was original plan. Really good hard science fiction movies never seem to get real change. Movies like Moon (2009), Solaris (2002) , The Machine (2013) and Ex Machina (2015) struggle to get released when watered down and bad science fiction get huge marketing campaigns.

I will go to see The Martian because it could be good but trailer surely is not selling it to me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

"One, two... ...Freddy comes for you
Three, four... ...better lock your door..."

We lost Wes Craven last Sunday. I couldn't do anything for Monday. So this post is my tribute to him. I remember Wes Craven from Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Others may remember him from other movies too. Scream movies have been polarizing among horror fans. I liked them. I probably review them in future. This time I review movie that created biggest icon of modern horror.

Freddy Kruger is mix between normal slasher villain and supernatural foe. This makes Freddy more interesting than regular slasher villains like Jason. Regular slasher movies have almost unstoppable man killing people. There is little variance this can provide. Freddy is also killing people but his kills happen in dreams and can be almost anything at all. 

Nightmare on Elm Street has surprisingly little of Freddy. Someone has clocked he is on screen for seven minutes. There is lot of build up and then Freddy appear briefly as high point of dream sequences. This works well and keeps movie as horror. Later movies have more Freddy and he becomes almost comical character.

Freddy controls dream. Every time someone sleeps they could end up Freddy's victim. There are lot of dream sequences but there are only two certain deaths. It is not clear how ending goes. It is not sure what happened to Nancy or her mother. Things make more sense if we think it was Nancy's dream. How ever idea was probably that it happened for real. Nancy brought Freddy's hat from dream earlier. So bringing Freddy from dream is within movie's rules.

Before ending Freddy was only in dreams. Because Nancy gets call from Freddy this should mean she is in sleep and everything is her dream. If this is her dream it is not clear if Glen died or was it just her dream. Nancy's death is only implied but because she is in third movie she must have survived. I don't remember how her presence was explained in the movie.

Few effects look dated and ending has few continuity errors but other than that Nightmare on Elm Street works still today. Dream sequences are still effective. Movie uses Freddy sparingly. This let's audience's imagination do it's tricks. This is one of those movies where not showing the monster too much makes movie better.

Monday, August 31, 2015


While watching early seasons of Supernatural I thought I should write about SuperWhoLock. SuperWhoLock is fandom consisting people who like Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sherlock. I won't go into fandom or fan art or anything as such. This is about the shows and what makes them appeal to same people.

Supernatural is CW's tv show. Both Doctor Who and Sherlock are on BBC. This makes official crossover unrealistic. I would not be too surprised if there will be Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover but adding Supernatural from other company is much harder.

Supernatural tells about two brothers, Sam and Dean, who hunt supernatural things. I have not seen latest seasons but I assume this is still the case. Doctor Who is about time travelling alien and his companions. Sherlock is re-imagination of Sherlock Holmes in modern world. When planning this post I realized Sherlock is Doctor Who without science fiction elements. Weird smart man solving mysteries with his normal human companion. Steven Moffat is behind both shows and it could explain similarities.

In Supernatural almost everything has supernatural origin. There are few episodes where there is nothing supernatural but I have not seen episode with aliens. In Doctor Who it is almost always about aliens. During Matt Smith era show went more into fantasy territory but I can only remember one time when character was more like supernatural being than alien and it was during David Tennant's era. Solution to Sherlock's mysteries is always man and there are no aliens or anything supernatural. This makes crossover difficult from story's point of view.

So what makes these shows appeal to same people. Based on some fan art it is hot male leads. But I am not getting into that. Each show is about being smarter than your opponent. Supernatural is most violent of the three but Sam and Dean are against stronger opponents so they have to be smarter and find a way to survive. Doctor Who and Sherlock are about solving mysteries without violence.

Supernatural is horror show. Doctor Who has many horror episodes. Sherlock has episodes which start as horror but there is natural reason behind. Horror is connecting Supernatural and Doctor Who more than Sherlock but Sherlock has that element too.

I have no idea how to crossover all three but I know how to crossover each show with other shows. Sherlock and Doctor Who is easiest. It has to be Doctor Who story where he meets Sherlock Holmes. It could be historic Sherlock Holmes like in Sherlock Christmas special. Don't be surprised if familiar time traveler appears there. Sherlock and Supernatural crossover could be like Sherlock horror episodes where everything is caused by chemical or something like that.

This next I actually want to see. Sam and Dean are hunting mythological being which is actually alien. Doctor is also after same alien. It could be alien who comes to earth every now and then. I want to see this because I want to see Peter Capaldi's Doctor and Dean disapproving each others and other's methods. Clara and Sam could try to talk some sense into them. Episode could end Sam and Dean thinking it was supernatural and Doctor knowing it was alien.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is only Fantastic Four movie not telling the origin story. It is not the only reason why it is also the best Fantastic Four movie. It is sequel to Fantastic Four (2005). Rise of the Silver Surfer takes many steps to right direction. Third movie could have been actually a good Fantastic Four movie.

Rise of the Silver Surfer is based on first appearance of Silver Surfer and Galactus in Fantastic Four comics. Silver Surfer's character arc is quite close to comic. I guess they learned from first movie not to change characters too much. Doom is changed closer to what he is in comics. He is reborn and no longer metallic man. He don't wear mask all the time but I don't see it as a problem.

Fantastic Four movie by Fox would not be complete without ruining at least one important character. This time it is Galactus who we don't even see. We only see storm surrounding his ship. I thought he would be in third movie which never came. Movie got backlash for what it did to Galactus. Galactus is complicated character and movie reduced him to space storm.

Fantastic Four is worst part of the movie. They are little better than in first movie but there are still problems. Jessica Alba was miscast or her role was badly written. Maybe it was both. Movie made Sue Storm look like terrible person to make couple jokes and yes she is naked in public again. Johnny Storm is not as annoying as in first movie. Reed and Ben are what they were at end of first movie.

They should have kept Doom away from the movie. Even as better version of Doom he was not needed. He was clear villain in story where one was not needed. Galactus and Silver Surfer would have made better story without Doom. Galactus is alien who devours planets. He is not villain he just have to devour planets to stay alive. Silver Surfer searches planet for Galactus to devour in exchange for saving his planet. This would have been enough for good movie.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is best Fantastic Four movie. Which means it is least bad Fantastic Four movie. Silver Surfer parts are good. Doom is ok and rest is average at best. I hope someone makes good movie out of this story. It deserves much better movie.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

I liked first Hitman movie. It had many flaws but it worked. It looked and sounded good. I liked chemistry between two leads. I was disappointed when I learned next Hitman movie would be reboot. Hitman: Agent 47 has many flaws but it sounds and looks good. Does it work is different matter.

First movie had quite simple story which turned bit more complicated but it made sense. This time it is not sure what characters' goal are. It can be story telling technique but there is something wrong when you don't know at the end of the movie what your main character wanted. There were so many twists it was unclear what 47's original orders were.

It didn't help when he acted inconsistently. For example when he meets John Smith first time he don't try to kill him. They fight but 47 don't try to kill John. Before and after he doesn't have any problems to kill people. But in that fight he don't try to kill his opponent. He has not reason to do that. Only reason was movie didn't want to show John Smith is much harder to kill than 47. At this point movie shows 47 as bad guy and John Smith as good guy. That could have worked better if trailers didn't show John Smith was the bad guy.

This wasn't only time movie forgot what characters knew at the time. When John Smith and Katia meet first time after 47 took Katia from John, John just start to beat Katia conforming everyone he is the bad guy. At this point Katia wasn't sure should she trust John or 47. She could have been talked away from 47 and she would have been more co-operative but John just beats her.

John's problem might be his under skin metal armor. If they applied it to his manhood he has no way to release himself. It would make any man angry. Under skin metal armor is so unrealistic concept. He would not walk through any metal detector. He couldn't grow in any way after getting armor. No more gaining muscles or fat. Losing muscle or fat would be problematic too.

I haven't talked much about the story. It is hard to talk about the story without going straight to last fifteen minutes and spoiling everything. Movie is just twists and scenes one after an other. Katia is woman looking for her father. Revealing he is her father was a twist. John Smith works for organisation who want to make own agents like 47.  Katia's father is also father of Agent program. 47 is hitman who's target is not clear.

Hitman: Agent 47 has good action scenes. It looks and sounds great. Script is abysmal. 47's plans involves unbelievable coincidences like interrogators bringing his guns to interrogating room and loading his gun. 47 seems to be able to get anywhere without any problems. If you can get past nonsense like this action scenes are good.  Movie leave you questioning what just happened. Some good movies do it too but this is not one of them. This time your questions come because movie was so badly written.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fantastic Four (2005)

I always liked the sequel better. I remembered almost nothing from this. Only bad version of Doom and bad battle between Doom and Fantastic Four. On my list this is the worst Fantastic Four movie. Roger Corman movie was fun. 2015 movie had good ideas even though it was big mess. This doesn't have anything. It tries to do things comics had but it doesn't succeed. What works in comics don't always work in movie.

Maybe it tries too hard to be like comics. Johnny Storm makes fun of Ben Grimm  all the time. He does that in comics too but on movie it makes him look too much like jerk. Characters except Doom are like from comics. It is good thing except that there is no character development outside getting superpowers. Johnny and Sue Storm don't change at all if you don't count superpowers.

Reed Richards' character development is he finally find courage to marry Sue Storm. Ben Grimm has more character development. After becoming Thing he wants to get back to normal. When he finds out he is more useful as Thing he wants to be Thing.

Doom gets most character development. This would be good thing if movie didn't reinvent him. This time he is successful business man who loses his business after incident and becomes metallic man with superpowers. His character arc felt too convenient. His business started to go bad right after incident. Everyone wanted to get rid of him even though he was successful business man moments before.

Nothing happens to characters and almost nothing happens at all. Story just goes from one scene to next and then there is short battle between Doom and Fantastic Four. Battle follows comics' style by being short. Fantastic Four just uses their powers together and that stops Doom. There is no learning to work as a team story. They just know how to use their powers together.

Fantastic Four (2005) was made to keep rights for characters. They didn't have story to tell and they didn't know what they wanted. Whole movie ends up being one big mess. Ben Grimm is tragic character but all that is lost when Johnny Storm makes fun of him. Movie tries to have romance between Reed and Sue but teases three times with naked invisible Jessica Alba.

Movie movie was successful but it was more because of people wanting to see Fantastic Four or superhero movie rather than quality of the movie. It is forgettable but because it made money it got sequel. Rise of The Silver Surfer review is coming next Thursday. Yes. I bought it and yes I paid money for it. Not much though.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

If video is not shown, you can watch it here. Video contains some spoilers.

Star Trek Into Darkness will be last weekly movie review video I will do for a while. I didn't make the video I have teased for a while. It will be written blog post. I think it is better this way since my blog posts gets much more hits than my videos. Even blog posts with videos get much more hits than videos on those blog posts. Ration is over 10:1 which is quite confusing. That is one reason why I stop making weekly videos. I won't stop making videos. I only stop making movie review videos.

Star Trek Into Darkness was movie I was curious about but didn't want to support in any way or form. I patiently waited until it was shown on television. That way it didn't get any money from my watching and I didn't break any laws.

I didn't expect much from Star Trek Into Darkness but it was even worse than I expected. Star Trek (2009) was ok movie if you forgot it was Star Trek. Star Trek Into Darkness forgot to be ok movie. It just references older Star Trek and think it is enough for audience. I don't even want to go into how badly rebooted Star Trek has abused Spock.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

I will stop making videos for a while

I will make one for next Monday because I started it before. After that I don't know when the next will come. I am not giving up YouTube. I just change my YouTube focus to different things. First focus will be Finnish version of videos I have done to this site. I don't know when the first Finnish video will come.

I will continue with this blog. Mondays' posts will be written reviews from now on. I try to make videos for this site in future but I won't follow any schedule at first. I try to get back to regular schedule with this site's videos in future.

I do this because my YouTube channel have stuck in limbo and I have been told few times I should try Finnish videos. This blog gets much more hits than YouTube. People who come to this site doesn't seem to watch the videos. So I won't be force feeding videos on this site for some time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Fantastic Four (1994)

This is first time I review movie that was never released. Some say it was never intended to be released and others say it was bought for never to be released. If I have to pick one I would say it was never meant to be released. When Marvel sold movie rights to their characters deal had clause that rights would return to Marvel if characters aren't used for certain time.

This is the reason why we are getting new Fantastic Four movie every ten years. The Fantastic Four was made because contract obligations. This time they didn't use lot of money. They have put more money into later contractual movies. It feels like they just pick someones to make movie every time they have to make a Fantastic Four movie and hope it works.

The Fantastic Four was never released but bootleg versions can be easily found. Every other person seems to have seen it after Fantastic Four (2015) was released. I had to see it when I found it.

One reason why I think this was never meant to be released was because some of the cast and effect makers seem to be in joke. Guy who plays Doctor Doom seems to have too much fun in his role. He makes Doom over the top comic book villain and script helps him in it. It is weird that this almost parody of Doom is most faithful live action version of Doom.

Almost parody describes this movie very well. Script could have worked as parody movie but actors excluding Doom are taking this seriously. Director is probably in joke. There are scenes which would not be in movie if director was serious.

Movie is quite faithful to source material. Only problem was they didn't have money for special effects. This means special effects are cut to minimum. Doom uses pistol and epic battle between Doom and Fantastic Four is fist fight between Doom and Mister Fantastic. When Fantastic Four walks into Doom's trap Doom says how boringly easy he caught them. Movie knew what it was.

Never released Fantastic Four movie is probably the most entertaining Fantastic Four movie. It had professionals having fun making funny competent low budget movie. Before Fantastic Four (2015) this was considered as worst Fantastic Four movie. After it this is considered as best. Fox is partly to blame because they took electronic versions of 2005 and 2007 movies away from everywhere. I guess they thought no-one wanted to pay to see more Fantastic Four after seeing the latest movie.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fantastic Four (2015)

If video is not shown, you can watch it here. Video contains some spoilers.

Fantastic Four is probably most talked about superhero movie this year. Not because it is so good but because people want to know what went wrong. I wrote about that last Saturday. That post wasn't review. It was more of a general discussion what has happened around latest Fantastic Four movie.

This time I review the movie. Review lacks part where I discuss about last scenes. I didn't have usable footage for that. Last two scenes felt like movie tried to apology what had happened before and promise next movie will be Fantastic Four movie fans wanted. They threw away everything movie had done and prepared stage for totally different kind of movie.

Some Fantastic Four reviews tell what is wrong with movies today. Reviewers complained how boring first hour was because there wasn't any action scenes and how bad movie is because there is so little action. First hour was best part of the movie. Worst part was when big action scene come. It seems some people don't want any character development or story telling. If you want only action you should play video games which are much more about action than story or characters.

I will get back to that next week if I can make video I have postponed for weeks then. Currently it seems like I can do it but there is always change of something current appearing. It shouldn't be new movie unless something comes out of the blue.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Fantastic Four (2015) is not that bad

There will be review with spoilers on Monday. This is more of spoiler free general discussion than review. Movie is surrounded by negativity. Fox is blaming director Josh Trank and Trank is blaming Fox. Reviewers seem to be competing who can make worst review. Rotten Tomatoes give movie 10%. IMDB gives 4/10 which is quite accurate.

Movie is not as bad as most reviewers say it is. I liked movie until last 15 minutes. Inside sources say Josh Trank had nothing to do with those 15 minutes. If you want to take sided on who ruined the movie this tells which side might be better choice. I am not saying Josh Trank is completely blame free but his part of movie works better than studio's part without him.

Movie has had negative publicity since the start. Audience wanted Stan Lee-Jack Kirby style Fantastic Four. Movie was developed as dark science fiction horror movie. Doom was said to be hacker and Johnny Storm was black. This caused backlash from fans and this probably made studio second guess their original vision.

After seeing the movie I say they should have stayed with original vision. Even black Johnny Storm worked to make movie better. They should have used that dynamic more. Doom was pretty much like hacker even though he is never called a hacker. Movie turns worse when it tries to turn into Stan Lee-Jack Kirby like Fantastic Four during last 15 minutes. Original vision would have given us better movie. Maybe not the movie we wanted but good or great movie.

Biggest problems movie has come from second guessing of the studio. Studio lost faith and tried to limit their losses. This shows in bad CGI and editing that cuts away important scenes. And in ending which throws away everything that happened before. Forced ending leaves everything ready for Stan Lee-Jack Kirby style superhero movie. Sequel already have date set but Fox might reconsider it after this bombs in box office.

Somehow I doubt Fox will understand they should have followed original vision. If next movie gets made it is probably similar to Marvel Studio's movies like we don't have enough of those already and more are coming. This movie's original vision was refreshingly different and I want to see more of it and director's cut of this movie.