Friday, February 27, 2015

300 (2006)

I didn't plan to review 300. After watching 300: Rise of an Empire (2014) I felt I have to review this too. After watching this I had to change 300: Rise of an Empire review less favorable. Favorable version was never published.

300 is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel which was inspired by The 300 Spartans (1962). All are based on Battle of Thermopylae were 300 Spartans with some other Greek fought against Persian army. Movie was quite popular and resulted few lasting memes.

I didn't remember how much 300 had quiet moments. It is remembered for its over the top graphic violence. Sequel tried to repeat that with out giving us the silent moments or showing us the society. First half of this movie show us Spartan society and their values. At the time I couldn't name any other movie which had favorable view to eugenics. I can't remember any today either.

Movie tried to show us how Spartans saw themselves and eugenics were part of their values. Spartans had to be worthy to survive and their goal was glorious death in battle field. King Leonidas explained how phalanx worked and Spartans used it at beginning of the Battle of Thermopylae. But quite soon the battle turned into one against on battles because that looks cooler. At some parts movie tried to be historically accurate but forgot it for most of the second part. This was more than in Rise of an Empire. If you want to see more historically accurate version of this you should watch The 300 Spartans.

If you watch these movies back to back, correct order is 300: Rise of an Empire and then 300. You enjoy Rise of an Empire more that way. It felt quite good before I saw 300. 300 felt like light years ahead of Rise of an Empire. 300 has more nuances, it has more emotion, more quite moments and more charismatic cast. Every speech felt like they could encourage men to fight against overwhelming enemy. In Rise of an Empire I told 300 was more about fighting as a team. It wasn't as much as I remembered. Phalanx tactics were used and there were no spartan above the rest. But it wasn't much of a fighting as a team after movie forgot the phalanx which Spartans would have used in real life.

Movie caused some controversies when it showed Xerxes' forces as nightmarish group. It was forgotten that Spartans had their own nightmarish group called Ephors. Movie's style was to make everything over the top and comic like. This didn't try to be realistic. More realistic enemy wouldn't have worked in this movie. Movie was Spartan fantasy and it worked as such. This style is problematic in movies that base on real events. Enemies are real people, who don't like to be shown as nightmarish creatures. But then again these things happened thousands of years ago and this doesn't show anyone currently living as nightmarish or anyone who someone currently living has met.

If I ever have to make top 10 list of movies 300 will probably be on it. It is such perfect warrior fantasy in interesting world. It doesn't try to be accurate or politically correct. It has vision and it makes the vision work. It wouldn't get to top places since it doesn't reveal new things on every time you watch it. Best movies do that. It has same spirit as Conan the Barbarian but it looks better and is bit more sophisticated.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

This is the 300th post on this blog. This blog had more posts on Wordpress. Back then I had posts telling which movie I will review next. I never counted those as real posts. I removed them when I changed my blog to here. So this is 300th real post on any version of this blog. That is why I chose to review 300: Rise of an Empire this time.

300: Rise of an Empire is sequel to 300 (2006). It happens before, during and after events of 300. It concentrates on battles of Artemisium and Salamis. It is based on unreleased graphic novel by Frank Miller. Like so many sequels before, it tries to turn everything to eleven but doesn't understand what made first movie so good. I will review 300 next. So I am not going too deep into what made it so good. It has to be said to this movie's credit that it made me want to see 300 again.

300 was all about to Spartans and their warrior attitude. Rise of an Empire tells about Athenians and makes brief visits to Sparta to show attitude difference of the city states. Attitude difference appears in less memorable speeches and toned down everything out side battles. To make this up movie uses tons of cgi blood and gore. I really hated quality of cgi blood in this movie. And there were never ending supply of it.

In 300 it was about the group working together. Rise of an Empire is more about individuals making the difference. Themistocles is not as charismatic as King Leonidas. Themistocles don't got same fire in his speeches that make you reserve dinner table from hell. He says the words but it doesn't feel like he means it. Of  course there is attitude difference between Athenians and Spartans. But still he is written like charismatic leader but he doesn't look like it.

300: Rise of an Empire looks and sounds amazing. It requires big screen and loud volume. After seeing it I regret that I didn't see it in theater. Movie looks like it was straight from Frank Miller's graphic novel. During some shots it feels they went too far with that style. I already mentioned cgi blood which was awful. But most of the time everything looked amazing.

Movie ended like there will be third movie. Xerxes is still on loose and Battle of Plataea is still to come. Beginning of that battle was shown at the end of 300.

300: Rise of an Empire is not as good as 300. If you remember 300 to be constant battle and you liked it, you probably like this too. If you remember what it actually was, you may be little disappointed. This took the battles from 300 and forgot most of the other things.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Imitation Game (2014)

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

I don't usually review dramas or Oscar baits. Now I have seen five of this year's nominated movies. Other four are not what you could call Oscar baits. I don't remember last time I watched Oscar bait. I usually stay away from them. The Imitation Game was biopic of Alan Turing and Alan Turing was the reason I saw the movie. You could say how they broke the Enigma code was science fiction at the time. But I admit I reviewed a drama. You have to wait some time before that happens next time. Next Monday I will review something totally different.

The Imitation Game was a good movie. My video review may make it look worse than it actually is. It is easier to point out what was wrong than what was good. My biggest issue was that it left out much what I thought was important. Then it took few dramatic licenses. I guess that is always expected and you don't see it if you don't know the subject. I told enough of bad things in video.

I really liked the humor in beginning. It felt almost like comedy but it didn't feel forced and it felt correct for the characters. It was what good writing and acting looks like. It is quite rare in movies I usually review. Alan Turing's story provides ingredients for dark movie. This movie went there with Enigma team but only hinted what could have been on aspects. They even ended the movie with happy note with Enigma team celebrating the end of the war. Alan Turing's own end was only mentioned in text during team's celebration.

I kind of wish they left everything that happened after the war to sequel, This movie was mostly about breaking the Enigma code. There was very little of what happened after the war which was as interesting. That would have changed the tone of the movie but it was important for Alan Turing's story.

There is a reason why I saw The Imitation Game only now. We usually get all Oscar baits around this time of the year. Theaters want to maximize Oscar potential. So we have almost every movie that got more nominations running on theaters at the moment.

Video mentions Jupiter Ascending and Interstellar. I saw both movies in nearly empty theaters. It was strange feeling to be in sold out theater and not in optimal seat. I bought tickets to this on Friday morning and I had to take what was available, Original plan was to review this later but I think right after Oscars is best time I could do it.

The Imitation Game won Oscar for best adapted screenplay. It was well written. I am not sure about adaptation but that might be because I would have selected other parts of the story.

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)

Someone thought sequel to Starship Troopers would make money. That is only reason this movie was made. After first few minutes almost everything from Starship Troopers is gone. I assume they had unused footage from first movie and they used all of it during first few minutes. Contrast to rest of the movie is huge. This was made with fraction of money and same fraction of talent.

No-one from first movie returns. There are couple brief mentions of themes of the first movie but most of the movie has nothing to do with the first movie. Budget constraints became clear when ever movie tries to emulate first movie. You can make good movies with low budget but this is not one of them. They could have made good movie with same story and same money.

Starship Troopers 2 fails on badly written characters, bad acting and too extensive use of bad cgi. There were few actually good practical effect which stand out from all the bad cgi. Characters were big problem. Bad acting didn't help. It was like movie wanted to underline how some characters weren't trustworthy. This took away all suspension. You just waited when they would betray others. Story provided change to do something like The Thing but it was never unclear who was human and who wasn't.

Starship Troopers 2 is closer to The Thing than Starship Troopers. It tells about group of solders on abandon outpost during heavy bug attack. Bugs have new breed that goes inside human and then controls him or her. Group of solders have few of those bugs among them. But like I said earlier it was never unclear who was a bug. Character learned about the bugs just before they died. There was never confusion among them who was human. It was kind of like you waited things to happen and then things happened.

Movie is pretty much complete waste of time. I had force myself to watch it. I could do it because I had to write this review. There is something wrong when you wonder how anyone could have been happy with some shots that are in movie. They didn't have the money but they tried to do shots that require money. They should have stayed in things they could do like practical effects. Movie is only one and half hour long but there are still scenes that don't go anywhere. Script tries to have twists and character development but awful dialog and bad acting destroys that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Aeon Flux (2005)

Aeon Flux is science fiction gem that is not consider as science fiction gem because it is Aeon Flux movie. This is not because of Aeon Flux charater but because movie is called Aeon Flux and only things it has from original are names and some visuals. Original Aeon Flux was strange animated series on MTV. If you liked the character you hate this movie because this has so little to do with animated series. If you didn't like the animated series you didn't see this because this was Aeon Flux movie.

I really don't understand why this was Aeon Flux movie. Story felt like it wasn't originally Aeon Flux story. Then someone made it Aeon Flux story by changing the names. Animated series wasn't popular enough to draw masses to movies. All this is shame because the story was good science fiction story. I mean in mainstream way.

Movie's biggest problem is that it is Aeon Flux, it is not just from marketing point of view. Everything Aeon Flux doesn't work. Animated series had weird style. What worked there doesn't work as live action. Most of Aeon Flux stuff is in beginning. After movie is done with that it turns into good science fiction movie.

Movie happens in last human city Bregna. Over 400 years ago deadly virus killed over 99% of human population. Bregna is ruled by scientist Trevor Goodchild. Humans are disappearing and everyone is not happy with Goodchild's reign. Underground rebel group the Monicans fight against Goodchild. Citizens are having strange dreams of past lives and sometimes they get sad for no reason what so ever.

Aeon Flux is assassin of Monicans. Police mistakes her sister for her and kills her. Later Aeon Flux gets mission she has been waiting for. She is sent to kill Trevor Goodchild. Everything goes well until she meets Trevor. Trevor remember her with different name and she remembers something. This is where the movie really start to get interesting. You just have to endure everything until this point.

After that we learn how human race has survived for over 400 years and political power struggle of government. I won't go spoiling. Movie gets really interesting after it doesn't try to be Aeon Flux movie. It goes to Aeon Flux mode for final battle and shows how different Aeon Flux mode is from story mode. I wish this story was done as serious science fiction movie with minimal violence and fighting scenes. Story had potential to be science fiction classic in right hands.

Over all the movie leave positive taste. You just have to endure first half hour or something until it gets good. I had forgotten how good the story is. I am glad I check the movie again. Animated series is worth checking too. It might be too obscure for some and it is quite different from this movie on every aspect.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I am changing my video release schedule to once a week

Reason for this is, I want to keep making videos fun thing. With more than one video a week started to feel like work. I was more ambitious when I started. Now I have learned sustainable schedule and I will keep it. Making less videos leaves me with more time. I try to get back to longer reviews I had before I started to make videos. Posting schedule on this blog will remain as Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

On Mondays there will be new video, either 5 Minutes with Kvesti or Kvesti on Movies. I will continue making Kvesti on Movies videos. I haven't decided how often I will make Kvesti on Movies videos. I probably won't have regular schedule with them. 5 Minutes with Kvesti videos of new movies will be published on Monday after the world premiere if that is possible. That leaves regular schedule with Kvesti on Movies videos impossible.

I try to have movie reviews on Wednesday and Friday. Trailer reviews will be additional posts. Some Wednesdays and Fridays I might have something else due time constraints but on regular weeks there should be new reviews on both days. This week will probably not be regular week since I have to make announcement video for this. Tomorrow will be review. On Friday there might be something else. This is current plan and it could change if it feels too much.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

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

I don't review The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the video. If I did, I would have done that in Kvesti on Movies format. I wanted to tell what was wrong with the movie and how I would have changed it.  I talked about Marvel's and Sony's collaboration, you can read my blog post about it here.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 got very bad reviews. It was supposed to be beginning of Sony's Spider-Man universe. I was excited after The Amazing Spider-Man. I wanted to see sequel. First movie promised good things. Too bad sequel could not deliver those good things. Is it as bad as reviews say? I would say no. It is better than review let you believe. It has huge issues. Main issues is that it was supposed to launch Spider-Man Universe and introduce characters for the spin-offs.

It did this but by doing this it got too many characters and too many stories. Characters and stories which had nothing to do with this movie. They were there that we would already know them when they appear in sequels. Even without them there would have been too much content.

I was disappointed when I learned Elektro was main villain of this movie. I am not fan of the character. When posters showed Green Goblin I didn't understand why Elektro was main villain. There was brief moment when Elektro looked like worthy main villain. That moment was right after he became Elektro and before he got angry at Spider-Man. Rest of the movie he was badly written, boring character.

Over all The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is average superhero movie. It has good things and bad thing. Is it worth of watching? I don't know. You don't need to see for later movies since it seems like there won't be any movies continuing this story. On its own it is quite a mess.

This is first video where I used daylight as light source. I have to use it at some point because I live in Finland and during summer we have daylight all the time. During winter we have that very little. Other new thing in this video is that I dropped bad transmission effect. When I edited last video I started to think, why I make video look good and then destroy it with bad transmission effect. Now it is gone. I am not sure if I do same with Kvesti on Movies' faulty projector effect.

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sharkando 2: The Second One (2014)

I really don't know what I should think about Syfy. With money they put to making movies they could do really good science fiction movies like The Machine. But they keep on making bad b-level scifi movies. To be honest more people have seen Sharknado 2 than The Machine and Syfy wants to have as big audience as possible for their movies. I guess it is the World's fault. I would be hypocrite if I wouldn't say I like some of their movies like first Sharknado.

Sharkando was perfect storm. Name got people to watch to movie and movie worked. It caused lot of hype in social media and second movie was announces soon after first was aired. Sharknado is stupid movie and you can't call it good movie by any means. But it is really entertaining. Things don't make much sense and acting is bad. But the movie works. It is masterpiece of its genre.

Second movie tries to repeat formula. This time we are in New York. This movie lost me at start. I knew this would be stupid movie like first one was but airplane scene was just too much. First one barely stayed right side of the line. This one repeats things from first movie and turns everything to eleven. This means movie goes over the line too many times.

On Sharknado characters developed during the movie and story stayed together. Sharknado 2 has scenes that happen to have same characters. Each scene could have had different actors and we woudn't have missed anything. This is not about characters. This is about Sharknado. Movie tries to have drama between characters but it doesn't work.  Maybe I should say script tried to have drama but movie forgot the drama.

Sharknado 2 is same thing as Sharknado with exception that it didn't work. I didn't knew celebrity cameo. Some times I felt I should have known cameos in order to enjoy the movie. But it wasn't the reason I didn't like the movie. Movie is all over the place and too much over the top. If you have to see something like this I suggest first movie, Ghost storm or End of the World. Each of those have the madness but the story is interesting and movies don't go too much over the top even though they go close to it.

Third Sharknado is confirmed for this year. I hope they put more effort into story on that one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Outland (1981)

Outland is western in future and space. Outland follows formula of western little bit too closely. What starts as interesting science fiction mystery ends up standard western in space. Mining colony in Jupiter's moon Io and support ships are remote small town and rail road running through it. Sean Connery's federal marshall is lonely sheriff of westerns. Ending is from westerns. It felt bit too much to be there because movie followed the formula. It is not a big issue in otherwise great movie.

Sean Connery's federal marshal comes to mining colony on Jupiter's moon Io. His assignment is for a year. His wife has had enough for his remote assignments. His wife leaves Io with their son soon after they arrive. Sean Connery stays on Io solving mysterious suicides. He is expected to look other way but this time he wants to make a difference. Mining colony of Io is place for people who couldn't make it elsewhere. Sean Connery is there because his superiors didn't like his attitude. After his wife left him he wanted to show everyone he is not wasting his life on these remote mining colonies.

Movie aims for realism. Everything looks and feel realistic. Even time it takes to travel from one place to another is realistic. Everyone looks like they have no change than be on remote mining colony. Actors are chosen because of their skills and because they fit the part. Today this would only have young and beautiful actors and full of cgi action. Outland shows realistic science fiction can be interesting.

Outland has same feeling as two years older and much more popular Alien. Instead of horror it is western. Both have dirty, gritty and realistic feel of future. Outland has more social commentary. It is not as visually stunning as Alien but I think it deserves its place as part science fiction greats along with Alien. It is not only for science fictions fans. It is worth checking for anyone liking good movies. It is must watch for any science fiction fans.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spider-Man is coming back to Marvel... ...kind of, sort of... ... but not really

It was announced last night that Sony and Marvel will start to collaborate with Spider-Man's movie character. There were rumors of something like this happening but now it was confirmed. I wish they waited one more week before announcement. I have Amazing Spider-Man 2 video coming next Monday and this announcement week later would have got my video cheap hits. But you can't always win.

 Speculations have run wild ever since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 flopped and Sony had to rethink their plans. I did my part last summer. Before the announcement we knew Spider-Man was about to be rebooted once more. Andrew Garfield's time in role was to be only for two movies. Before second movie plans were for much more. All spin-offs were at hold and Sony was not sure what they should do with Spider-Man and Spider-Man universe.

I haven't got much from announcement from news I have read. What I have understood Spider-Man will still be with Sony but Marvel will get some creative control and Spider-Man can be part of Marvel Cinematic Universe. Next time we see Spider-Man will be on Marvel movie. Which means Marvel can define this version of Spider-Man. Then he will be on Sony's Spider-Man movie. How much creative control Marvel and Sony have is open.

This will probably mean that Spider-Man will be in Captain America: Civil War. Avengers: Age of Ultron comes too early but brief end credit scene might be possible. Maybe even more than possible. It would be such a big thing for fans that Sony and Marvel will be tempted to do that.

What happens to planned spin-offs is still totally open. As I told earlier I have Amazing Spider-Man 2 video coming next Monday and I will say something about this in it.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Spoiler free review of Jupiter Ascending (2015). If video is not showing check it here.

I reviewed trailer earlier. I told I expected total disaster but I promised to give it a change. It wasn't as good as Cloud Atlas but it wasn't total disaster. Jupiter Ascending was bad and it get bad reviews but it is not all bad. If you are into science fiction worlds you will get some entertainment from Jupiter Ascending.

Jupiter Ascending has interesting promise and world has good ideas like Matrix had. Whole thing is ruined by putting too much CGI action and everything like Matrix sequels did. There is too much action. Action scene are too long and there are too many close calls. Before half way point you realize nothing will kill our heroes and after that it feels like action scenes are distracting us from seeing something interesting.

Story telling is not much better. Movie expects us to know things we were never told and then forget some things we just saw because movie forget them. Hidden beneath all this is interesting world with many good ideas. I don't think you should full ticket price for this. But it is worth seeing at some point. It was made by talented people. Problem is that there is too much stuff in it and nobody told the Wachowskies they should tone somethings down and cut other out.

I tried couple new things with this video. Camera angle is bit different than before. Now camera is higher looking down. I don't know if you see it if you didn't know. Another change is more visible. I started to use commenting subtitles few times. This is not first time I use them in videos. This was first time I knew I will use them when I shot the video. Other time it was case of correcting what I was saying. While editing Galaxy Quest video I got idea to start using them more. To make them  regular part of my videos.

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

Friday, February 6, 2015

Shorts: Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

When DC announced their upcoming movies last year, there was one less known group getting their own movie. That group was Suicide Squad. Maybe DC wants to repeat Marvel's success of Guardians of the Galaxy with their own obscure group. Suicide Squad is bit better known that Guardians of the Galaxy were before their movie.

Batman: Assault on Arkham in Suicide Squad's introduction to larger audience. Live action movie will have little bit different group than this movie.  But the concept will be the same. Suicide Squad is group of convicts, who are given suicide mission to reduce their sentences. Group is formed my Amanda Waller, who controls the group with explosives planted in group members' necks.

Movie starts as Suicide Squad movie. We see Batman briefly few times before the end. Suicide Squad is given mission to retrieve list of Suicide Squad's past, present and future members from Arkham Asylum. Batman's mission is to find Joker's dirty bomb before it explodes.

Batman: Assault on Arkham suffers from same problem as Batman: Mask of Phantasm. Both movies have interesting story with less known characters and then both movies add Joker without any reason to do so. Just like makers didn't believe less know characters and they had to add Joker. Both movies would have been better without Joker. This even without Batman. Movie would have been better as Suicide Squad: Assault on Arkham. Batman is there to sell this movie. His story doesn't give anything we haven't seen in other Batman and Joker stories.

Movie was surprisingly adult oriented. I didn't expect as many deaths and graphic violence from animated movie. I guess this was one time thing without any connection to any continuity. First part worked introduction to Suicide Squad while second part spoiled good beginning with Batman and Joker story we have seen dozens of times.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Marvel's Daredevil - Teaser Trailer - Netflix [HD]

Daredevil is first Netflix original I am waiting for. There are couple other series I should check at some point but Daredevil is first I will watch as soon as it comes available.

Daredevil (2003) had correct ingredients but movie didn't work as whole. Spin-off Elektra (2005) had many things better than Daredevil. It even had one character that should have been in Daredevil but wasn't. This teaser showed us Daredevil's sensei Stick. He is not as important to Daredevil as Alfred is to Batman but he is interesting character and it is nice to see him in this. Those couple seconds we saw him in this teaser were most important thing of this trailer for me.

Marvel has had good run with their movies and tv series. Everything has been at least fairly entertaining. Daredevil won't be exception. This teaser promised Daredevil we liked in comics. I assume this is heavily influenced by Frank Miller's run with character. Maybe we see Elektra of the comics here too. If not during first season then on later seasons.

It will be interesting to see how Vincent D'Onofrio will do as Kingpin. Michael Clarke Duncan set bar high for the character. It might be odd to see white live action Kingpin after Michael Clarke Duncan. In comics Kingpin is white.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Galaxy Quest (1999)

If video is not showing check it here.

I promised links to my Dreamworks animation parody reviews. I have review Megamind and Monsters Vs. Aliens earlier. I wonder how Dreamworks can make really good parody like Galaxy Quest and then forget what made Galaxy Quest good when they make animation parodies. If you want to nitpick they are two different companies but both operate under name Dreamworks.

If you want to know why I didn't like J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" you can read couple post about them here and here.

I forgot to mention in video that Galaxy Quest is my favorite science fiction parody. It is better than that other better known science fiction parody. I will do video of that movie in future. Galaxy Quest is based on Star Trek and Star Trek fans. It respects and understands subject so well that Star Trek actors and fans like the movie.

If you ever wondered what my "set" looks like in real life, this video gives best picture of it. It doesn't have any color grading. Well some might count saturation and color temperature color grading but there is nothing beyond that. Except white balance. I tried new lighting and it worked so well that I didn't want to change too much. Galaxy Quest doesn't have that much red but I wanted to keep red in video. I think I will continue to use this lighting in future.

I am not sure if I start to end videos with "never give up, never surrender". It sounds look and is reference to movie I like a lot. But it is also bad advice to give. There are times when you should give up and change your focus to other things. Otherwise you could end up doing something totally pointless and waste your time. But still, it sounds really cool.

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

Monday, February 2, 2015

Continuum: Third Season

Spoiler free review of third season of Continuum. If video is not showing check it here.

 Last week I reviewed second season of Continuum and week before that I reviewed first season of Continuum.

Third season of Continuum is best season so far. Main reason being that they dropped possibility of Kiera to ever getting back to her time. This almost made season worst since story started to get confusing because of that. But it never went too confusing. It is good thing next season is last and only six episodes long. They can't make the story too confusing during that time. At least I hope it.

I don't know how much it shows but this was first video shot after two weeks of doing nothing. I got injured and could barely walk, sit or sleep during that time. I am getting better at the moment but blew all my backlog during that my injury. I can't postpone things anymore. I thought of postponing Wednesday's video but made it anyway. It will come as scheduled.

I don't know when I can do review of fourth season of Continuum. It hasn't come out yet and I won't be among first ones to see it. I don't know when it will happen but I will do review of it.

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