Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Halo meets The Animatrix in legendary fashion.
On the surface, Halo Legends may seem like a stupid mistake by Microsoft and co. to bank on the popularity of Halo in the wrong way. After all, how many people are fans of anime? Prior to watching this release, I had been hearing a lot of ill talk about Halo Legends, and I was not eager to watch it. However, from the moment the stories began being told, I was instantly blown away.
Halo Legends is a collection of seven short films with six of them taking place within the canon of the Halo universe. The first story is "Origins," which takes place after the events of Halo 3. The Master Chief is still in cryosleep, and Cortana muses to him the events of the Forerunner/Flood War, and the Human/Covenant war. The second story, "The Duel," is a samurai-themed story where one elite refuses to follow the way of the Covenant and a rival Elite who wishes to challenge him. The Duel is one of the most visually unique of the collection at hand in Halo Legends, as it is constructed in the fashion of a Japanese watercolour painting. The third story, "Homecoming," exposes the hidden scars of a Spartan-II that were left in their psyche when they were abducted and forced to train at a young age. The fourth story, "Odd One Out," is a short that definitely feels like an out of place film for this collection. Instead of having a serious tone like all other Halo tales, this story has a heavy humorous tone. This tale focuses on Spartan-1337 who has a severe ego and terribly bad luck. He's basically the Bizarro-Master Chief. Odd One Out starts off with Spartan-1337 falling out of a Pelican Dropship, and must face a genetically modified Brute. The story is over-the-top, slapstick, and is similar to Dragon Ball Z. Thankfully, they decided to consider this tale non-canon, so just enjoy the craziness for what it is. Next up is "Prototype," which shows the story of another Human world falling to the Covenant, but not before a broken marine Sergeant named Ghost, makes a final stand to save the lives of his comrades by using a heavy armour suit that could go toe-to-toe with Iron Man. The second last film, "The Babysitter," tells the episode of four Orbital Drop Shock Troopers and Spartan Cal-141, who are tasked with going deep undercover into a Covenant occupied world to assassinate a Prophet. Finally, "The Package," is a CG-action flick that features five Spartans; John-117/Master Chief, Frederic-104, Kelly-087, Arthur-079 and Solomon-069, who must infiltrate a Covenant fleet and rescue Dr. Catherine Halsey. All of these short films kick ass, and the final three especially are filled with tons of action. The Package though, is the one that will definitely interest the most of the Halo Nation out there.
The score is all Halo baby, and it never seems out of place. Each tale at each moment, whether it is high-octane action or the terrible feeling of losing someone close to you in war, all works perfectly well with the signature Halo music that has been heard again and again over the years.
Halo virgins will surely have a tough time grasping the material that is at display in this collection. And even if you have only played the Halo games, don't expect it to be just like the Halo games. There are very different art styles in each short film from some of the best anime artists out there, so if you don't like anime, then consider yourself warned. Also, it is too bad that these stories aren't longer. I wanted to learn more about these characters and their experiences throughout the Human/Covenant War, and 5 to 20 minutes is not enough to get me to realize their importance in the Halo universe.
The Bottom Line:
Halo Legends is one of the best anime film collections I have ever seen, and because of this accomplishment, Halo has put its foot in another type of entertainment to expand the ongoing saga. Everything here is beautifully written and drawn, and it is worth checking out by those who have the mindset to grasp the material and style.
You Don't Give Them Orders. You Just Turn Them Loose.
The Losers is a winner with its laugh out loud humour and balls to the wall action scenes.
An elite U.S. Special Forces team - Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Ãscar Jaenada), are sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. The mission doesn't go as planned as the men find themselves to be the target of a betrayal orchestrated by an illusive man known as Max (Jason Patric). Considered KIA, the team decides to even the score with Max and add a new, but unknown member to their team by the name of Aisha (Zoe Saldana) - a special operative herself who has her own score to settle. Together they plan on getting into Max's network, and stop his plans to create a new high-tech, global war.
Directed by Sylvain White, The Losers is as much a Vertigo comics based film as it is a cheesy-action flick. White and co. have done a good job at weaving together good action scenes and witty humour supplied by many members of the team that works to create a worthy popcorn-bro-flick.
The ensemble cast of The Losers are as funny as they are cool with their sleek and sexy weaponry, and clever way of infiltrating any building to get the Intel they need. Chris Evans, soon to be the next Captain America, steals many scenes with his funny one-liners similar to how he does it in his other works, and to how Ryan Reynolds does it in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Blade: Trinity. Jason Patric, who plays the main villain, Max, isn't a deep villain here, but he adds to this film's witty humour with his funny puns and dumb killing scenes.
What could have made this film better would have been a deeper connection with each of the characters and their families since they are mentioned and referred to in the film.
The Bottom Line:
Aside from the good but not great villain, and the weak character connections, The Losers gets the job done. It has a good soundtrack, fast action, many laughs, and lots of violence that'll surely satisfy action fans. It's a fun film that should be checked out if you are a fan of the genre.
"I'm warning you, I am a lethal killing machine. It was a secret government experiment. They did stuff to me. Spooky stuff... Anal stuff. It turned me into a dangerous telekinetic. In the words of Ancient Taoist masters, Don't start none... Won't be none." - Jensen
"It was just like that night in the alley, Alfred... the closeness of the walls, the gunfire. It seems I've been trying to stop those two bullets all my life." - Bruce Wayne
An Animatrix-styled tale of the legendary character that feels like a live-motion comic book story.
Batman: Gotham Knight features six interlocking stories shat showcase Batman's beginnings as the caped crusader. Along the way, he battles the mobs of Gotham city, Jonathon Crane aka The Scarecrow - psychiatrist turned psychopath, the monster Killer Croc, and the nefarious and titular assassin, Deadshot. Batman learns what it takes to overcome these challenges, and this marks the transition from noble crime fighter, to the Dark Knight of Gotham City.
This animated film has been advertised as being the story that takes place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Well, you should ignore what WB and company have been touting it as so, because Batman: Gotham Knight hardly fits into the "Nolanverse" of Batman chronology because of its take on the character. Instead, this animated release feels like a graphic novel in motion as it features six great tales of the legendary hero, each emphasizing an aspect of Batman.
The first segment of Batman: Gotham Knight features the short story called Have I Got a Story for You, which describes how each citizen of Gotham can have a different perception of Batman. The second segment, Crossfire, describes how Batman is perceived by officers of Commissioner Jim Gordon's police force. The third segment, Field Test, describes the fact that Batman is willing to put his life on the line to stop crime, but not at the sake of other people's lives. The fourth segment, In Darkness Dwells, describes the fact that the deeper Batman goes into Gotham to fight crime, the more sinister the forces of evil he will have to face. The fifth segment, Working Through Pain, describes how Batman learns to deal with pain, night in and night out. Finally, the sixth segment, Deadshot, describes what Batman is to firearms, and how even though he detests them, he can still understand the temptation to use a weapon that can enable one to control life and death; the power of God.
The voice acting, lead by Kevin Conroy who reprises his role once again as Batman, is solid. The artwork is different in each story, and is done well and far better than the artwork seen in most animated television shows these days such as Transformers Animated and The Spectacular Spider-Man.
The Bottom Line:
Batman: Gotham Knight is a worthy entry from the DC Animated Universe and should be checked out if you are a Batman fan who loves to read comics and watch animated works of the genre.
"You have to know your enemy, Alfred. I'd never use one, but even I can appreciate the attraction of a gun. The heft. The sleekness. The cool steel. The precision. And the power. The power to change lives, history. The power of God." - Bruce Wayne
One, two, Freddy's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, better stay awake. Nine, ten, never sleep again.
Freddy Krueger begins in this Wes Craven classic.
On Elm Street, four friends - Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp), Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss), and Rod Lane (Nick Corri), are all having frightening nightmares involving a burned man with a striped red and green sweater, a dark brown fedora, and a glove with razor sharp "finger knives." Each nightmare becomes more and more terrifying and eventually members of this group begin to die. But as the sleepless days and nights go by, Nancy learns that this mysterious figure in her dreams may be a child murderer by the name of Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund), who now appears to be getting revenge from beyond the grave by unleashing a nightmare on Elm Street.
Freddy Krueger, along with names such as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface, are names synonymous with the slasher genre of cinema. Wes Craven is the original think-tank of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and its cultural icon, Freddy Kruger.
Does this film still deliver chills in 2010 like it did in 1984? The answer is no, but the storytelling certainly pushes the boundaries of what is reality and what is a dream in film. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) has scenes that are still disturbing, and Freddy Krueger is clearly a twisted individual who has a past waiting to be heard about.
The performances, clothing, and set pieces, are all very eighties-looking, and some of it may be laughable by today's standards. But for people wanting to see how the Nightmare series all began, it is worth sitting through this film's running time. One great actor who made his acting debut with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is Johnny Depp, and we all know what kind of an actor he is today thanks to his roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and his films directed by his partner in crime, Tim Burton.
The Bottom Line:
As a fan of the horror genre and looking back at this film from a 2010 perspective, I still find this film to be entertaining and consider it a classic of the horror/slasher genre, and is still worth watching today if you are a fan of the genre.
"Whatever you do don't fall asleep." - Nancy Thompson
A "shaky" thriller about U.S. blunders in the Iraq War.
Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is one of the many soldiers of the U.S. military looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Miller has had enough after going to numerous WMD sites that are nothing but empty warehouses. He asks his superiors for an explanation, but the chain of command only tells him to do his job. Miller decides to go rogue and assist CIA Baghdad Bureau Chief Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson), who is also dubious to the WMD situation. Miller must go on the hunt and discover the exact location of any WMDs before war erupts in the already unstable region of the green zone.
Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have teamed up yet again but this time it is in a non-Jason Bourne story. Green Zone takes place in the Green Zone that houses international presence within the city of Baghdad, Iraq. The film credits itself as being based on the 2006 non-fiction book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I was expecting Green Zone to be a solid thriller due to the fact that Greengrass' last film was The Bourne Ultimatum, easily one of the best action/thrillers of all time. Green Zone has its action elements, but it was also missing a handful of other elements to make it enjoyable.
Matt Damon delivers a good performance as a believable person in Roy Miller. The only unbelievable aspect of this character is that since it is an action movie by Paul Greengrass, the lead character is obviously not going to die. For instance, Roy Miller is being held at gunpoint and his adversary has given the green-light for his execution. A hyper-edit or two later, Miller is standing on his feet with his adversary lying on the ground. Brendan Gleeson and Greg Kinnear (who portrays Clark Poundstone, Pentagon Special Intelligence) play the political/government intelligence side of this story. Both want the best for the military and their country in Iraq, just by different means and points of view. Jason Isaacs plays Major Briggs, a dirty Special Forces operator and Poundstone's go-to-guy for finding information by any means necessary. The sole female cast lead is Amy Ryan, who plays journalist Lawrie Dayne, a U.S. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal investigating the U.S. government's claims of WMDs in Iraq and ultimately, an asset to Roy Miller. Khalid Abdalla portrays Freddy, an injured Iraqi who assists Roy Miller by leading him to Iraq VIPs who are believed to know about WMD locations. Freddy is the only Iraqi character that sheds light as to what is going on within the Iraqi side of this story. Yigal Naor portrays General Al-Rawi, the Jack of Clubs within the American's deck of cards. He is one of the high profile Iraqis who plan to attack the Americans if things go ugly. Al-Rawi has that heavy, bad ass look to him, but we never spend enough time with him to learn more about him and see his point of view. The only character we get to see the most is Roy Miller but we never really get to know who he is or where he is from. The same came be said for the rest of the cast of characters. We don't know who they are, except for the fact that they all have stereotypical roles in this film.
The best piece of this film is easily the score and it is one of the best that I have ever heard in a desert war/Iraq film. The film has some good open shots of the Green Zone, but it seems that for every nice shot, there is also a handful of super-fast edits. Sometimes the editing is so fast, you wonder how the hell the bullet could have hit its intended target so quickly. I also found that the film opens up with some good action, but the pacing of the film is ruined in the middle with political jargon. The climax too, is disappointing because of its weak elements and shaky camerawork.
The Bottom Line:
Green Zone is a film that you have to turn your political brain off for if you are going to be able to sit down and watch it. If you are a liberal you'll enjoy the flick, while if you are a conservative, you'll rip your hair out. If you are a Bourne fan expecting a Bourne type story from Green Zone, then you will be very disappointed. Consider watching this at matinee price or as a rental if you are a fan of the genre.