Thursday, November 7, 2013
10:23 AM adewale akinnouye-agbaje, chris hemsworth, marvel, movie, review, thor, thor: the dark world No comments
This week on Cinema Con Queso we are joined by special guest Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who plays Algrim/Kurse in this weekend's big release Thor: The Dark World. After talking to Adewale it's on to a lengthy love affair with the movie itself as Angela and John gush about one of their favorite movies of the year thus far. Don't miss John's tirade about how wrong it is for TV stars to charge $100+ for a picture with them at conventions!
6:58 AM asa butterfield, blogtalkradio, ender's game, harrison ford, movie, review, skinwalker ranch No comments
It's a big week on CCQ as we welcome our brand new co-host Angela Nolan! That's not the only big news as we've both been anxiously awaiting the big screen adaptation of the hit sci-fi novel Ender's Game. Then it's on to a pleasent little surprise in Skinwalker Ranch. Don't worry, we still take plenty of time to gush over the brand new trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. All this and much more, this week on CCQ!
This week on Cinema Con Queso we're talking all things The World's End with the films director Edgar Wright and it's stars Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. With two hits in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz can Britain's top comedy team threepeat withThe World's End, the final chapter of the "Corenetto" trilogy?
Friday, July 12, 2013
9:01 AM No comments
In the near future earth is invaded by an alien force known as the Kaiju, a race of enormous planet consuming creatures…I know, we've heard this story before, it’s the default motive behind alien invasions. What we haven’t heard though is the aliens invading, not from the stars, but from the seas, specifically a portal located deep in the pacific rim (get it? That’s the title). To fight this threat the world unites to create the Jaegers, gigantic mech-warriors piloted by two humans via a neural link called “The Drift”. As the war drags on the Jaegers begin to fall and ten years in total defeat is on the horizon. The Jaegers and their pilots must join forces In a last chance effort to close the portal for good and save humanity from imminent decimation.
Seeing giants fight on screen is nothing new, so director Guillermo Del Toro needed to find a way to set this flick apart from the Godzilla’s and Transformers of the world. My GOD did he ever succeed. I don’t know what trick he used but somehow he made the Jaeger’s and Kaiju literally impose their size on you, you can FEEL how big these bastards are. Think of any other giant robot/monster movie you’ve seen. If you really look you’ll notice that your brain doesn’t really see the monster as bigger but rather everything else as smaller. Pacific Rim manages to keep a real world visual perspective that not only looks cooler but adds a tense physicality to everything you see. This leads us to the #1 reason that you need to see this film…the battles. I could fill pages here talking about the intricacies of the Jaegers, how each one is unique and reflects it’s nationality in its fighting style or how the design of each Kaiju is a genius balance of familiar and alien. I COULD do that, but let’s not waste time you’re here to see giant robots whup giant alien ass. The mix of camera work, hype score, and downright amazing visuals make the fight scenes in this movie the best I've seen of its kind. While Del Toro does lean on the standard (and loathed by me) close up shaky cam, he does something no one else has remembered to do in the last decade…he pulls back the camera every once in a while so you can see everything going on and get your bearings.
The story is good enough to serve its purpose well, I actually had a much stronger opinion regarding that until I read an interview Del Toro did with the guys at aintitcool.com which made me completely respect him as a director (not that I didn't already). He cut nearly an hour of the movie. These days that shows a level of restraint unparalleled in Hollywood, especially when the result puts you in the cross-hairs of critics everywhere by leaving your characters underdeveloped and creating plot holes. It was his reason that really swayed me, he did it for the younger viewers and because he knew it wasn’t necessary for this type of film. Here’s the quote: “We cannot pretend this is Ibsen with monsters and giant robots. I cannot pretend I'm doing a profound reflection on mankind." I actually think the cuts made the movie something of a template for how an action movie should be. The entire history of the Kaiju invasion is laid out perfectly in an awesome opening narration that lasts all of 5 minutes and explains more clearly than some films can do in an hour. From there the character arcs really serve more as transition from one action scene to the next, Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) suffers a loss BAM it’s five years later and Raleigh is working construction BAM Marshall Pentecost (Idris Elba) shows up and BAM Raleigh’s back in the program, it’s like this pretty much throughout the movie. It’s perfect because we really don’t need to know that after Raleigh suffers his loss he spent 6 months drinking cheap vodka with a Thai hooker or decided to take up needlepoint. It’s the perfect amount of detail to move the film along.
Two last things I’ll mention on the good side of things. First is the Jaeger design. In our world the all instruments of war look pretty much the same. The US doesn’t give out grenades shaped like lady liberty and the French don’t have baguette rifles. In the world of Pacific Rim each Jaeger contains some manner of nod to its Country of origin. Gipsy Danger, the US Jaeger, has an almost cowboy stance and is styled in the color and design of art-deco New York architecture. Cherno Alpha from Russia is directly modeled from a Russian tank. These are very cool little touches that add a level of personality to these giant mechs. Lastly is a silly little thing that I thought gave the movie another level of nerdcool, the naming of key locations in the film. Again, our world has places like London, Washington and Berlin. Pacific Rim has “the Shatterdome” and “the Bone Slums”. Nothing big…just a nice touch.
This movie had the opportunity to completely encapsulate you for 2 hours but instead decided to insert scenes/characters that strike the viewer with a Jaeger size blow back into reality. The biggest offender was one of the two scientists trying to figure out the Kaiju master plan, Dr. Hermann Gottlieb. What Austin Powers is to the British secret agent, Gottlieb is to British scientist. Bad haircut and teeth, tweed jacket, even an odd walk that for some reason has been associated with intellect as you see a lot of movie scientist types walking with some manner of malady. In a movie about Robots fighting Aliens this guy takes the prize for most over the top. There are some other moments where it just seemed that Del Toro just hit “Use Default” in his script writing software. Moments like the stick fighting scene…apparently stick fighting is a good measure of neural compatibility, or the standard fist fight between the two top pilots which was littered with insults one would expect to hear on a middle school playground. Then there’s the old action movie standards, character needs to hit self-destruct button….”self-destruct failed, please use manual override located in unnecessarily hard to reach location.” Worse still is the whole, “The world is in danger and we've got one shot to save it, I KNOW, send in the untested rookie pilot…their like totes my BFF, no way it can fail!”. Not the only movie to commit these offenses, but that doesn't make it ok.
THE FINAL WORD
You will not hear me say this again for quite some time, I’m sure of it. See this movie and pay the extra $6 for IMAX 3D. I don’t think the 3D element adds anything but if you forgo the IMAX screen for a conventional size you are going to miss one of the best things about this incredibly fun film. Yes it has it’s share of problems, problems I would usually disregard. My problems with this movie are really somewhat unfair as they are based on the fact that it could have been much more with not too much effort. It could have had it all. The important part is that what it DOES have, and that’s 2 hours of Jaeger/Kaiju fisticuffs done with great direction and better visual effects.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
100-250 murders, this is the legacy of Richard ‘The Iceman’ Kuklinkski a contract killer for the New York mob from the 60’s until his capture in 1986. That’s not just the synopsis for the film, in case you didn’t know this is a true story. We see so much violence on television and in movies…what sets this story apart? Well…it’s like this; there isn’t a movie with a more terrifying killer than Kuklinski was in real life. Reason being, he genuinely loved his family. It’s one thing for someone to have a psychosis and fake a normal life while being a monster underneath, think American Psycho; it’s the fact that someone capable of such love is also capable of such cold evil, the realization that we are all capable of even the most heinous things. The Iceman covers the life of Kuklinski, played superbly by Michael Shannon, starting with he and his wife’s (Winona Ryder) first date. Concurrently his career as a professional killer, and disturbing double life, starts at roughly the same time. The film follows his career as he perfects his craft, battles his demons, and tries desperately to keep his two lives separate.
Friday, May 10, 2013
The great American novel…that somehow I never read, this ends up being a great thing for me but we’ll get to that later. Being that 90% of the country read the book in high school I suppose a synopsis is somewhat superfluous but there are rules people, and I must tell you what it’s about! It’s the roaring 20’s and Nick Caraway (Tobey Maguire) has just moved to Long Island where he plans to make his way in bond selling (though I still don’t really know what that is) on Wall Street. He rents a small cottage which sits among the gigantic mansions of the nuevo riche residents of West Egg with his next door neighbor being its most popular and mysterious resident, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Gatsby throws amazing parties to which all are invited, rich and poor. This diversity is an idea not shared and frankly frowned upon by East Egg residents, where the true American “old money” and family to Nick Caraway, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Daisy being Nick cousin and Tom an old friend, reside. It isn't long until the mysterious Gatsby takes an interest in his new neighbor and confides in him a number of things that will change the lives of them all forever. I suppose it shouldn't be surprising how divisive this movie seems to be among those who've seen it. Whenever you take a classic and do something new it’s going to make someone upset. I loved it…but I will be 100% honest with you upfront, I’m not positive how much of my admiration comes from the film version and how much comes from this being my introduction to such an amazing story (it’s easy to see why it has such a lofty status in American literature).