Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Earth vs the Flying Saucers

Here we have the second film in the Ray Harryhausen 3-pack that I am making my way through. I really enjoyed It Came From Beneath the Sea, the story and the animation was a lot of fun. I was the most excited to see this movie because I could only imagine how the aliens must have looked. But I won't lie... I feel a little let down by this movie. Not much, but I'm still not as happy as I had hoped I would be.

Making my way through this series and already I hit a dud. Dang. 

Earth is paralyzed with fear over the sudden appearance of unidentifiable flying objects entering the Earth's atmosphere. In nearly 90% of all these flying objects being seen, they are soon found to be a trick of the light shining off of a plane or something similar - nothing to be worried about. But it's the other 10% that is slightly bothersome...no one knows what these things are. The Department of Defense in the U.S. has taken upon itself to decree that if the military sees any unidentifiable object whizzing through the atmosphere it is to be shot down on sight. Could they be alien invaders? Perhaps. But some want to study these phenomena rather than obliterate them.

Yeah, those look like spaceships to me...can't be nothing else. 

Dr. Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) and his beautiful new bride Carol (Joan Taylor) are spearheading Project Sky Hook - a project that will be sending 14 un-manned satellites into space to orbit the Earth. These satellites will help to pinpoint these unidentifiable objects before they get close to Earth...but the project isn't going as hoped. Firstly, while driving to the test site after their short marriage ceremony a UFO flutters right over Carol and Russell's car! Carol is amazed to have seen a flying saucer but Russell is sure that it can't be so, that it was just a trick of the light. The only proof remaining of this happening is that Russell captured the sound of the UFO on his tape recorder. But that's not the only alarming thing happening today. A visit from Carol's father - General John Hanley (Morris Ankrum) - reveals a horrible fear of Russell's.

Those satellite's that Project Sky Hook has been launching into space have proved to be faulty - they go up...but no one is able to receive signals from them. Almost as though they've vanished. Well, General Hanley has come to Russell to reveal that the reason the signals are not coming in from the satellite's is because something has been shooting them down. One was found in Panama, and two more were found on the plains of Africa. But...nothing on Earth has the capacity to shoot down a satellite from outer space. Russell tries to brush this news aside, maybe it's just a fluke, and the next day he proceeds with the launch of Satellite 12...but then something remarkable happens!! A UFO, a legitimate flying saucer, lands on the launch pad of the site and out walk men in metal suits. And they make it clear from the beginning that their visit is not a friendly one.

Hello? Washington? Yeah, we've got angry aliens on our doorstep...

These alien invaders that landed at the test site instantly start setting fire to the facility, destroying the remaining satellites and killing everyone there! The Marvins are the only ones left alive, and General Hanley is captured and taken aboard the space ship...what is the meaning of this hostility?! It isn't until after the saucer takes off with the General and Russell is puzzling over the events of the day when he realizes that his tape recorder intercepted a message from the aliens aboard the ship - they requested a meeting with Dr. Marvin and were coming to Project Sky Hook to communicate peacefully...well that literally went up in flames. So Russell reaches out to the aliens asking for another meeting...and it is aboard their spaceship that he learns the purpose of their visit to Earth. These aliens are the last of their kind, their planet was destroyed. They were the ones who took out the satellites, thinking they were weapons. And they have come to Earth to take it over as their new home planet. No! Invaders from outer space! They must be stopped!

Dammit alien scum! You leave our president alone!

This was a very fun movie - I've never seen a 50's era alien invasion movie before so I was excited to check out my first. But as far as Ray Harryhausen's talents go, I feel like this movie was a little bit of a dud. The UFOs weren't anything fancy and the aliens were FAR from intriguing! They looked like metallic mushroom men! Boring! Regardless of the less than stellar animation though, I still enjoyed the plot and the characters so this movie was not a total wash. But I would recommend It Came From Beneath the Sea more. Up next, rounding out the 3-pack is 20 Million Miles to Earth - here's hoping for the best!

Not the best, but it could have been a lot worse!

Monday, October 5, 2015

It Came From Beneath the Sea

In the depths of the Pacific ocean, an American nuclear submarine commanded by Captain Pete Matthews (Kenneth Tobey) is going through basic maneuver training when a blip comes across the sonar reader. Some large mobile object is heading in their general direction. The submarine surfaces thinking that it might be a ship but there's no one around for miles, and there are no more sub-aquatic vehicles in the water for miles around...but whatever this thing is, it's approaching the submarine quickly! Captain Matthews gives the orders for the crew to dive deeper in the hopes of avoiding collision, but this moving mass just keeps getting closer and closer until BANG! it hits the submarine!

Something is happening down below!

The crew quickly resurfaces and a team of divers is sent out to inspect the sub for any damage - they can't find anything wrong with the submarine...but something strange is wedged against the outside. The crew cannot get too close because the Geiger counters they carry with them are picking up high levels of radiation from this thing, but it's the shape of a large barrel and has a spongy appearance. Weird. Unsure of what it is, Captain Matthews instructs the crew to go to the nearest naval base - Pearl Harbor - and get this thing analyzed. Whatever hit them could still be out there, and next time they or another crew may not be lucky enough to escape. 

Once in Hawaii, Marine Biologist Lesley Joyce (Faith Domergue) and John Carter (Donald Curtis) are asked for help in figuring out what this weird addition to the submarine could be. With the help of men in thickly padded radiation suits, Lesley and John run several tests on this thing and come to the same conclusion - this piece of tissue came from the body of an octopus. Lesley and John reveal their conclusion to Captain Matthews who laughs at them - how could a measly little octopus create such a violent impact with their vessel? It doesn't make any sense! But Lesley believes that this is no puny little octopus - this creature is enormous, hundreds of times larger than any octopus known to man. But how could it get so large? 

Could it be true? A giant octopus? How?!

Lesley and John believe that this monstrous octopus likely lived it's life in the Mindanao Deep - a seemingly bottomless cavern in the ocean that has yet to be thoroughly explored because of it's incredulous depth. A creature as large as the one Lesley and John have hypothesized could have lived it's life in the underwater cavern, but nearby hydrogen bomb testings at sea could have driven the beast from the cavern and also made it radioactive. Captain Matthews halts his laughter at this point and recalls hearing tell of a fleet of Japanese fishing vessels that just disappeared without a trace...could they have fallen victim to this giant octopus? Where could this beast be now? Is it dangerous? And if so...how do they stop something so large from taking more lives? 

How do we stop something so massive and slimy?!

This movie is a monumental step in my career as a movie-watcher - this is my first ever Ray Harryhausen movie! Ray Harryhausen was a special effects artist who made a name for himself in the B movie world with his use of stop motion animation, and his creation of the filming technique known as "Dynamation" - this is where pre-shot background and foreground footage is spliced together to create the illusion that it is all a cohesive shot. To give you a better idea - think of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins when the cast jumps into the animated world and interacts with it as though it's all one cohesive setting. Yep, Ray Harryhausen CREATED that! Super cool! Jake Noose of Zorch Radio let me borrow his 3-pack of Harryhausen DVDs to get me introduced to his world, and I am amazed!!!

3 films and a booklet on Harryhausen's work - now I'm regretting not keeping
this box set for myself!

Harryhausen's stop motion claymation is really cool and fun, considering that so much of it was employed during the 50s and 60s. It adds an extra element of B movie terror to the film! The one thing I really liked about It Came From Beneath the Sea was that this movie was specifically written to glorify Harryhausen's work so I literally started off on the best possible foot! Queue for the Harryhausen 3-pack is 20 Million Miles to Earth and Earth vs the Flying Saucers. I'm so excited to check out more! I've also been told that some of Harryhausen's better works that I should acquaint myself with are The 7 Voyages of Sinbad and Clash of the Titans - any others I should add to my roster? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Such a fun movie - can't wait to watch the next three!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Damn! I don't know if something is in the air lately but I have had TONS of Kung Fu movies on my roster lately. On Saturday mornings I've been getting up early to watch movies with The Cinemartyr and Jake Noose of Zorch Radio, and this past Saturday Jake insisted that we watch Ong-Bak. I've heard of Ong-Bak but I didn't really know anything about it. Jake and The Cinemartyr were both gushing over how amazing it is and demanding that I see it. AND NOW I GET WHY. ONG-BAK IS INSANE!!!

If this trailer doesn't convince you of Ong-Bak's greatness - NOTHING WILL. 

In Thailand there is a small village called Ban Nong Pradu, it's a small and very humble village but the people are the village are happy with their lives and steadfast in their religion. At the center of this town in a shrine is an ancient statue of Buddha that the villagers christened Ong-Bak - it's the most valued object in this village and because of it's age the statue is also insanely valuable. And that value is not lost on outsiders. A thieving drug dealer named Don (Wannakit Sirioput) comes to the village one day and offers a great deal of money to buy the statue from the elderly monk that maintains the shrine. The monk refuses the man's money and Don leaves enraged. But in the dead of night, a terrible tragedy befalls the village.

It is discovered the next morning that the head of Ong-Bak has been severed from the statue and stolen!! The entire village is horrified and distraught - how could anyone do such a horrible thing?! But what to do now? Those in the village are too old or too young to travel, and Don - the only possible suspect in this act of theft - is undoubtedly a strong man. Who could face him and right this wrong? One man offers himself to track down Don - this man is Ting (Tony Jaa), a skilled martial artist who specializes in Muay Thai. Ting offers to go to Bangkok, track down Don, and retrieve the head of Ong-Bak. The villagers gather on the day that Ting is set to leave and give him what little money they can to help him in the big city. And with that, Ting sets off down the road.

Go out into the world Ting, and return Ong-Bak's head to the village!

Ting arrives in Bangkok and seeks out his cousin Humlae (Mum Jokemok) who moved to the city years ago. Humlae now prefers to go by the name George and is a member in a street bike gang alongside an annoying girl named Muay Lek (Pumwaree Yodkamol) and together they make their money by scamming drug dealers. At first when Ting approaches George, George is annoyed - he wants nothing to do with anyone or anything from his hometown, he no longer associates with that poverty stricken village! And just to spite Ting, George steals all the money that the villagers gave him before he left on his journey and takes it to place bets at an underground fighting tournament. Ting angrily follows George but before he can confront his cousin, Ting is pulled into the fight and shocks the entire audience by taking out the aggressor with one blow! And this draws the attention of Komtuan.

You've been knocked out sucker!!

Komtuan (Suchoa Pongvilai) is the leader of an organized crime gang, even though you'd hardly think it to look at him. Komtuan is wheelchair bound and has to use an electronic voice box to communicate, but he's a cruel and evil man. Don had actually stolen the head of Ong-Bak hoping to sell it to Komtuan for quite a bit of money but Komtuan was not interested in the relic...until he learned about Ting and why he came to Bangkok. Komtuan holds onto Ong-Bak's head and decides to make things a little interesting and amusing for himself. He also kidnaps George's partner Muay Lek and sends word to George that he will only release the girl and the statue's head if Ting will compete in a fight against three opponents. Ting is a skilled fighter, and he plans on getting Ong-Bak back no matter what - but can he trust that Komtuan will arrange a fair fight? And can he trust Komtuan's word to return Muay Lek and Ong-Bak's head unharmed? The only way to find out is in the ring.

Now is your time to shine Ting!

This is the kind of martial arts movie that I drool over!!! Ong-Bak is a hard-hitting (literally), action-packed thrill ride that employs killer stunts in the Muay Thai style. I won't lie, I was really excited to hear the term 'muay thai' because I actually know what that is thanks to the Kickboxer movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme! The little victories! The plot of this movie is solid and I really love the character development but undoubtedly the true star of this movie is the action and cinematography. The movie uses long shots so we get to see the stunts in full, most of the stunts are even replayed a couple of times from different angles so we can truly appreciate how amazing they are. And the lead actor Tony Jaa does ALL of his own stunts! EVERYTHING! That, in itself is MIND BLOWING!!! I can't wait to check out more of his movies - he's amazing!! Overall, this was a killer action movie that had me excited and cheering nearly the whole way through - HIGHLY recommended for Kung Fu movie fans!!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dark Tide

I don't really watch cable television unless I'm house sitting, most television shows these days don't really interest me and the ones that do are either on HBO or Netflix anyways. But I have to come clean. There is one week out of the year that I do miss having cable and that is Shark Week. I am not going to claim to be a huge fan of sharks, but I definitely think they are cool! They're huge, violent, mysterious, and one of the few creatures alive today that existed during the time of the dinosaurs and that's REALLY awesome! This last year when Shark Week hit the Discovery Channel, I saw an article on Facebook that was a list compiled of the best shark movies available on Netflix so naturally I got really excited and knew I would be watching some of them. There were all the usual players like JawsDeep Blue Sea, and Sharknado but there were a couple I hadn't heard about like Dark Tide. And that was how I came to watch this.

Kate Mathieson (Halle Berry) lives for swimming with sharks. Living on the beautiful Southern coast of South Africa, Kate had actually pioneered a special technique to keep the sharks calm and to keep her out of their jaws. Kate and her friends would regularly take their boat out into the open South African waters just so Kate could swim with these prehistoric predators and her friends would film her doing so. But, as things usually go with sharks, one day everything went wrong. While under the waves one day, two of Kate's friends were killed in a freak shark attack!! Scarred by the event and distraught over the loss of her dear friends, Kate shut off her love for shark swimming and decided to stay on land where it was safer. But then life decided to get tough on Kate.

No more shark swimming for Kate!

Because Kate hung up her shark swimming hat, business became tough. Kate owns her own touring boat that used to help bring in business because Kate would incorporate her shark swimming routine in with taking tourists out to see the enormous sharks - but now that Kate is out of the water, she barely gets any tours anymore. She's lucky to get one each day! Because of the slowing business rate, Kate is behind on her bills and the bank is threatening to repossess her boat. How is Kate supposed to turn all of this around? Enter Jeff. Jeff (Oliver Martinez) was the love of Kate's life but after the shark attack, Jeff disappeared from Kate's life - so you can imagine that she's far from happy to see him again. But Jeff might just have the answer to Kate's financial troubles...if she's willing to go along with the plan.

Picking up where they left off is DEFINITELY not an option...

Jeff found himself a couple of rich tourists - a wealthy British man and his estranged son - who are wanting to pay big money to see some big sharks. Jeff knows that Kate can bring out the big sharks and knows how to find them, but getting Kate to take on these guys might be tough. Kate hates Jeff and she's not looking to get back in the water any time soon. But...she needs the money. And rich guy is more than willing to pay any price. But once Kate gets the crew out on the water, it turns out that Jeff had promised something different entirely and something in Kate's brain snaps. If they want the big sharks, she will show them the big sharks. But her mania will cost everyone on board severely - the ultimate price for the ultimate pay off.

You'd probably go a little crazy if you had this image running through your mind...

I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN THIS MOVIE!!!! I remember feeling similarly disappointed with shark movie Open Water because it had an insanely slow build up. But I will admit that once Open Water got going, it was awesome! The same cannot be said for Dark Tide. While it is pretty cool that this movie was shot in South Africa with actual sharks - there's no stock footage in this movie - I'm not only bummed with the lack of violence and sharks, but also with the severe lack of excitement. Or any other emotion! The movie opens up promisingly with a shark attack....but then there's nothing. Lots of dull drama and nothing interesting happened for at least the next 30 minutes - I watched this movie with The Cinemartyr and we played a game where we had to take the title of a movie and replace one of the words with 'shark', the point of this was to kill time until another shark popped up on the screen. WE PLAYED FOR 28 MINUTES. 28 MINUTES WITHOUT SEEING A SINGLE SHARK!!!!! Absolutely atrocious and I will not have it! If you love a good shark attack movie, or even a good shark movie, WATCH ANYTHING OTHER THAN THIS!!! Dark Tide is a liar and a thief of my time. And Halle Berry doesn't even show us her boobs! I feel so betrayed...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

I am human, and I make mistakes - I will admit that! But apparently no mistake goes unpunished in the eyes of my blogger buddy and movie-watching mate The Cinemartyr. During one of our recent movie dates, I stupidly chose the lame shark movie Dark Tide and we were both bored out of our minds...so The Cinemartyr decided that my punishment for making him sit through Dark Tide was to make me endure the painful atrocity that is Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Now, the first Mortal Kombat was not a terrible movie but it was something I didn't particularly enjoy due to me not knowing what was going on and having to endure bizarre CGI. But I heard tales of Annihilation. Horrible tales. The Cinemartyr even wrote a blog post on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation that I took as a warning sign! But no, it was my turn to sit through this mess. And now I'm angry.

Liu Kang (Robin Shou) and Sonya Blade (Sandra Hess) were the conquering heroes of the first Mortal Kombat movie where they had to keep the Earthrealm from being taken over by the evil demon warrior bad guys from Outworld in an ancient hand-to-hand combat event known as Mortal Kombat. Liu, Sonya, and their friends saved Earth and their lives! But all is not well in the Earthrealm. Emperor Shao Khan (Brian Thompson) created a portal between Outworld and the Earthrealm so that he could be reunited with his beloved Queen Sindel (Musetta Vander), but in doing so Earthrealm is in danger of being sucked into Outworld within 6 days! Oh no! But lucky, Lord Rayden (James Remar) knows exactly the warriors to call on for help.

Oh no! New baddies are threatening Earthrealm!

Lord Rayden comes to Liu and Sonya with the terrible news, there is no time to waste! Liu and Sonya must find a way to defeat Emperor Shao Khan and only in his defeat will the portal to Outworld be sealed! But what to do? Liu teams up with his love interest Kitana (Talisa Soto) and together the two go in search of a warrior named Nightwolf (Litefoot) whose strong spiritual and medicinal powers might hold a key to Shao Khan's defeat. Meanwhile Sonya goes to her beloved friend and strongman Jax (Lynn 'Red' Williams) to ask him to fight alongside her warrior brethren. While Liu, Kitana, Jax, and Sonya are off fighting the warrior minions of Outworld that keep leaping into their path - Lord Rayden has gone to a higher power seeking answers.

Let's go gang - time to bring down Shao Khan!

Lord Rayden calls upon the Elder Gods, begging for answers - why was Shao Khan allowed to break into the Earthrealm? How can he be defeated? How can Lord Rayden keep his friends safe? Lord Rayden is given bits and pieces of answers that don't make much sense to him, but the Elder Gods are confused - what kind of alliance does Rayden have with the mortals? Why is he so willing to keep them safe? And as a tribute to his friends and his desire to keep Earthrealm safe, Lord Rayden gives up his immortality! Okay. So while Lord Rayden becomes just regular Rayden - Liu and Kitana manage to find Nightwolf who teaches Liu about the art of shape shifting powers that can harness the bearer's utmost power. Liu starts working through a series of tests to gain this Animality ability but his training is cut short when Kitana is kidnapped and Liu is nearly seduced by sexy warrior Jade (Irina Pantaeva) who ends up joining the ranks of the Earthrealm warriors.

Alright, so we have our fighting roster - Rayden, Liu, Jade, Sonya, and Jax; they are all ready to fight for Earthrealm and take down Emperor Shao Khan. And with Rayden's realizations they learn how to do so - Kitana must be reunited with her mother...who ends up being Queen Sindel! The Earthrealm troupe must battle their way into Shao Khan's castle in Outworld, they need to locate and free Princess Kitana - whoa, she's a princess now! - and they must reunite her with her mother in order to defeat Shao Khan! The plan is set! But will it be as easy as all that? Of course not! There are ninjas and warriors with impressive strength and fascinating powers pouring out the wazoo in Shao Khan's castle! But are they any match for Rayden's mortality, Liu's possibly animality skills, Sonya's spin kicks, Jax's strength, and Jade's sexiness? Only one way to find out - CUE THE MUSIC, IT'S TIME FOR MORTAL KOMBAAAAT!!

The ultimate battle is yet to come...and it's going to be...intense? 

Ugh. This was so exhausting to write about. I feel like I need to make a lot of retractions as far as my post on Mortal Kombat goes. The first movie is a MAJOR step up from Annihilation. Sure the CGI isn't great and the story is a little tricky for someone like me who hasn't followed the mythology religiously, it is basically the OPPOSITE of Annihilation! Annihilation introduces well over 50 new characters into this movie, many of whom aren't addressed by name or purpose, the CGI in this movie is WORSE than in the first one, and I am severely annoyed at the fact that James Remar stooped so low as to star in this movie. You're better than this James Remar, you're worth so much more!! Aside from these major flaws however, I really did like the nearly continuous fight scenes, and Nightwolf seemed like a pretty cool characters...but the plot is too thick and confusing and there's far too many people dancing around. This movie was exhausting and painful and an utter joke. DON'T BOTHER. EVER.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Theory of Everything

Once again, I have been drawn in by the singing lights of a Focus Feature film! When I picked up this movie at Sam's Club all I knew was that it was supposed to be about Stephen Hawking, a man that I admittedly know very little about except for the fact that he talks through a robotic voice and is a brilliant thinker of...something? See? I obviously needed some education - and what better way than through a movie? I've also been seriously devoid of romance movies lately, I've been watching tons of action and horror and sci-fi thanks to my blogger buddy The Cinemartyr's urgings. But I need to embrace my need for romance and love! But I can disguise it as just wanting to watch an autobiography. It's for science, after all!

We meet young Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) while he is a student at Cambridge University in England. The year is 1963 and Stephen is absolutely fascinated by the universe, time, and space. He excels in his schoolwork and has a knack for complicated mathematics and physics, it's no doubt that his dreams of becoming a cosmologist will come true. Stephen's passion for his education doesn't even waver when he starts dating Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) - a spunky, but quiet literature major who is absolutely taken by Stephen's awkwardness, curiosity, and his constantly dirty glasses. Stephen's balance between his college romance and his studies is strong, but his focus as far as education isn't so great. The only obstacle he's really encountered is that he's having issues coming up with a main thesis. But his favorite professor believes he has the answer to this problem.

Love, science - it's all easy for Stephen!

Stephen's physics professor Dennis Sciama (David Thewlis) has Stephen accompany him to a lecture where the topic is on the presence and creation of black holes in space, and this sparks an idea in Stephen's mind: what if the entire universe was created from a black hole? It's a risky thesis, but Stephen is so profoundly interested and sets right away constructing his research on time and how it all began. But as Stephen buries himself under books and papers and hefty mathematical equations, something strange and frightening happens. While walking across the courtyard one day, Stephen's legs suddenly give out from beneath him and he cannot raise his arms to stop himself from landing face-first on the concrete. Stephen is rushed to a hospital where he undergoes a series of tests that only draw more worry to his body - fingers and hands that once held chalk and pencils so easily had now become stiff and unresponsive. Even Stephen's legs were stiffening or going completely limp. What was becoming of his body?

Something is wrong. What is happening to Stephen? 

After the tests were ran, Stephen's doctor delivered the news: he was suffering from Motor Neuron Disease, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Motor Neuron Disease is an ailment where the brain is no longer able to send out messages to the muscles in the body to perform simple tasks. It's a slow acting disease that begins with the inability to walk or use your hands, but before long it eventually takes away the ability to sit upright, speak properly, and will eventually end in not being able to swallow or breathe. It's a slow and terrifying death sentence and the doctor gives Stephen a mere two years to live. Horrified at the news, Stephen's initial reaction is to shut himself away in his dorm and ignore the world. He leaves his classes, he stops contacting his friends, he doesn't even say anything to Jane. But Jane is finally approached by one of Stephen's friends who got the truth out of him. And when Jane learns that Stephen only has a couple of years left, she is outraged. Not at him dying, but at him wanting to just end his life now.

For whatever time he has left, they must enjoy it together!

Jane goes to Stephen and urges him to snap out of his funk. If he only has two years left, then he is going to live out those two years to their fullest and happiest potential. And Jane swears that she will be by his side every step of the way because she loves him. And their fate is sealed. Stephen picks up his classes again and starts attending and working on his thesis again. Going to class slowly becomes difficult because of the rapid loss of mobility in Stephen's legs but he is determined. Stephen and Jane also end up getting married and starting a family together, they want no lost time between them! But as the years go on, things start to change. Stephen baffles modern medicine by living past his two year sentence and thriving. His mobility continues to decline and takes him from using canes to a wheelchair, to finally a motorized wheelchair. But all the while, Jane and his beautiful children are at his side. But then comes the hard truths of their relationship. This had only been meant to last two years. Were they still happy? Was their love still thriving? Or was this a marriage built on compassion rather than love everlasting? But even if Stephen and Jane could admit the truth to themselves...would it matter for them to admit it to each other?

Together, they've come this far. Do they have it in them to go farther still? 

This was a very unlikely love story, but one that explores the kind of relationship you don't typically see in the movies - the kind of relationship that expires. We watch Stephen and Jane work so hard to keep their lives normal and to keep going through the motions, but it becomes obvious in their later years that it's just not something they were wanting anymore - that is some powerful stuff! I also really like that this movie explores a love story between two people who are still alive, I love the idea of paying tribute to a story that hasn't ended yet. Now, let's get down to the man of the hour: Mr. Eddie Redmayne. WOW!! Eddie's performance as Stephen Hawking won him an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actor, and it shows!! His performance in this movie is beautiful and so convincing! His movements, his speech, his personality that shines through his pretend disabilities - this man is a magical actor and I cannot wait to check him out in more films in the future. Brilliant! Overall, this movie is a strikingly poetic love story that I highly recommend for fans of indie romance and biographical love stories. Plus, I now know who Stephen Hawking is and what he's contributed to science, another victory for science!

Focus Features does it again! Such a beautiful story!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) lives alone in a quiet suburb. He is not married, doesn't really have any friends, and isn't really active in his community - he has to take the social cue from his other neighbors to even put up any Christmas decorations. Really the only thing that Frank looks forward to during his days - aside from his microwaved TV dinners - is talking to Sarah. Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) works for the Pension Office in Kansas City as a customer service rep, and Frank lives for talking to her. He purposefully rips up his pension checks just so he has an excuse to call her each week and claim he hasn't received them. In all the time they've chatted, they've come to be close friends...and developed a bit of a crush on each other. And so Frank decides to go for it - he's going to travel to Kansas City and meet Sarah once and for all. But the night before his big trip, trouble brews.

All doesn't remain quiet on the homestead for long.

In the dead of night, the night before Frank is supposed to leave for his trip, a team of men clad in black and wielding large guns stealthily break into Frank's home. Frank is able to take down all 6 men on his own without alerting the neighbors, and manages to escape. Looks like his trip is starting off a little early! Knowing that this was a targeted attack, Frank knows that Sarah is likely in danger too so he rushes to Kansas City where he surprises Sarah by breaking into her home and terrifying her! Frank does his best to explain - he is a former CIA agent who used to take part in black-ops missions and someone is trying to kill him. Sarah is more freaked out about the fact that this guy whom she's never met before found her house and broke into it, so naturally she's reluctant to go with Frank. But wanting to keep her safe, he binds and gags the girl and speeds off with her in his car to meet up with some of his old CIA buddies to see if they have any insight into why someone would be coming after Frank after all these years.

Don't let the lap blanket fool you!

Frank and Sarah together travel down to New Orleans where they meet up with Frank's mentor Joe. Joe (Morgan Freeman) gives them some information but he points them in the direction of someone who could help them further - another former black-ops agent named Marvin Boggs. Frank and Sarah hit the road again - this time heading to New York to find out more about a  only to be engaged in a shoot out and car chase with CIA agent William Cooper (Karl Urban). Cooper was put on assignment to track down Frank and kill him - but Frank proves to be too devious and slippery for Cooper and he gets away. Frank and Sarah follow Joe's lead and not only come across a hit list left behind by a murdered New York Times reporter, but they manage to connect with Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) as well. A former black-ops agent and a current paranoid conspiracy theorist, Boggs is able to give Frank some insight into this hit list. And it's exactly what Frank was afraid of.

This old man's a bit kooky but he's got the answers Frank needs!

The men listed on the hit list were all those who took part in a mission in Guatemala several years ago - no one knew what the mission was for, they were paid to follow orders and not ask questions. Aside from Frank, Marvin, and Joe - the only person on the list that's still alive is the man that piloted the plane on the mission, a man named Singer (James Remar). Marvin, Frank, and Sarah track down Singer to pump him for information and to also warn him - but Singer is murder right in front of them and the trio is on the run once more! Out of actual people to talk to, Frank decides that the only way to get more information is to break into the CIA headquarters and look through their records - which turns out to be much easier than anticipated because the records keeper (Ernest Borgnine) instantly recognizes Frank from his file which is marked R.E.D. - Retired, Extremely Dangerous. But the road doesn't end here, Frank has to take this file and figure out what happened in Guatemala and why someone would want him dead because of the mission. And Frank has no time to stop!

Trained professionals marked as R.E.D. - you sure you want to mess with them? 

I've had this movie recommended to me three times now - by my blogger buddy The Cinemartyr, his buddy Scott, and my friend King Bubba Truck of the Isolated Desert Compound - and all have told me that this movie is excellent. And I have to agree! I knew I was in for a killer action movie, but I didn't anticipate an action movie based on a comic - I thought this was cool because it's not a super hero comic like I'm used to, it's just badass old guys kicking CIA bad guy butt! The action in this movie is fast-paced and the violence is really cool - there's one fight in particular between Bruce Willis and Karl Urban that had me slack-jawed for the whole thing, super cool! There's also plenty of comedy mixed in with the action to give it a light and easy flow, it makes me yearn for the cheesy one-liners of 90's action movies! And I love that we have an incredible cast of veteran characters: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, James Remar... But there is one flaw. This movie is DENSE. There's a whole lot of plot and it was kind of hard to hold on to what was happening. But thankfully this movie is fun enough that watching it a second time was not as issue! Recommended for action fans, this is a must see!

The first one is amazing, I've heard the second one is even better! Now I
need to pick up a copy!