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Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas (2012)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

(Spoilers Contained Within)

It would take a very long time to go into detail about all the different plot elements in this genre defying masterpiece - so I think that I will cut to the chase: You don't have to be particularly observant or intelligent or have your wits about you to understand anything that is going on in this movie. I think the only requirements are that you have a pulse and that you have some feeling. There are parallels drawn between the different threads spanning centuries and entertaining elements throughout each - it is enough to just pay attention to what is going on and not try to do a top down analysis that requires a PhD and 20 years of movie critiquing experience.

Cloud Atlas has segments of comedy. I have never laughed so hard in all my life and huge kudos go out to Jim Broadbent for his performance as Timothy Cavendish. I never thought a nursing home could be so hilarious! Cloud Atlas works as a compelling science fiction film with a very moving segment set in Neo Seoul Korea in the year 2144. The sets are immaculate and the visual effects are grand and jaw dropping. Cloud Atlas also has segments of thoughtful drama and tense nail biting action. The magical part is that all of these stories are connected - and one of the ways that this is illustrated is by the use and reuse of actors throughout the movie. Souls of individuals are transforming as time wears on and each scene in the movie offers insight into the moral standing of each of the characters involved. The characters themselves (and it would seem their souls) are also doing a bit of introspection and making evaluations of their own as the dynamics of each story thread unfold.

Doona Bae turns in an admirable performance as a slave worker who is a clone (named Somni 451) that is used to serve guests at a café in the Neo Seoul segment. Tom Hanks delivers an awesome performance with his Doctor in the 1849 segment - twisted and evil and poisoning a man to steal his gold. Jim Broadbent delivers an outstanding performance as Timothy Cavendish as I mentioned earlier. Halle Barry is also a gem in the roles she plays - the best of which I think is Luisa Rey - someone who is finding out about corruption at a nuclear power plant and is avoiding death and working to expose some dirty secrets.

I cannot say enough about this movie. If I were voting for academy awards I am pretty sure I would give a good number of them to this film. Best Picture. Best Actor: Hanks. Best Supporting Actress: Doona Bae. Best Supporting Actor: Jim Broadbent. Best Director: The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Best Makeup. Best Visual Effects. Best Editing. Best Costume Design. I say this a lot, and I might have some bias since I love sci-fi and I hope that one day sci-fi will get the recognition it deserves. After viewing this movie the first time and walking out of the theater I was certain this would be a contender and a new benchmark in the film industry.

But I have had the idea in my head that this movie has received mixed reviews from critics because it was privately funded. It has also received mixed reviews because I think there was some thought that you had to connect dots and get some crazy message from the film. More negativity came when the news articles came around discussing Larry Wachowski had become transgendered and renamed herself Lana Wachowski. I suppose that there are so many crazy variables coming together on this that there was a certain degree of failure to it. But what is good art and who makes good art? And is everyone in the world without some kind of adversity? Isn't imperfection inherent to the human condition? Are we free to make choices and do what we want with our lives and our bodies?

Had the world been open minded like I am I suppose we would be standing in line at the theater time and time again to see this awesome film - it is unfortunate that it has had to deal with the issues mentioned above. If you want my honest opinion, I STRONGLY URGE you to see this film. It is a beautiful work and may perhaps be the 2001: A Space Odyssey of the present day ---- or so we will realize after the dust settles (exactly like 2001).

Fire in the Sky
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Very well done, very scary, falls short because it is not about much other than a UFO abduction, but the vision is good and works well to frighten the audience.

Kick-Ass (2010)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

(Spoilers contained within)

Kick-Ass is fantastic fable that aims to please and gives the watcher piece of mind on how the world works. Of the reviews I have read for this movie - many of them will say that it is half good and the half they point to as being good is Kick-Ass's reckless exploration of the "Superhero" occupation and what risk was involved with being a Superhero.

These people are idiots. I give this film 90% because I did not like Kick-Ass (played by Aaron Johnson) very much. He seemed to not have depth or wit - the kind that it would take to be a superhero. People that have superhero qualities strike me as the right types of people that would try to be superheroes.

Hit-Girl was, in a word, AMAZING. We will likely see Chloe Moretz in future roles in much the same way we will see Sharlto Copley in future roles. Hit-Girl was a dangerous and ferocious kid that would fire bullets through people's heads and stab them to pieces! I thought I was watching Kill Bill all over again! Hit-Girl was as good as "the Bride" and she even drops f-bombs and c-bombs to boot.

The critics that think Chloe did a bad job or those that think that the moral implications of making this actor play this role was abomination from hell should get hit by a meteorite and struck by lightning. Her job was to be the "CRAZYWOMAN" girl that deals with life adversity by battling her opponent. The culture that she is exposed to teaches her to drop f-bombs and steals her innocence. These things are perfectly plausible in today's world. Much (again) like the Monkeys and Typewriter in the infinite monkey theorem we could definitely have a viable existing human candidate for each of the characters that exist in this film. That being said, why limit a film to show us and employ actors to show us only what we all agree is morally and ethically ok? That is a DUMB idea!

Finally, let me point out that Christopher Mintz Plasse did a fabulous job with Red Mist. It was easy to see that he was on the fence with the morality and direction of his father's enterprise and he was debating whether or not Kick-Ass could be his friend - something that it was made VERY VERY clear he needed. He wanted to show defiance but was afraid of the serious nature of his father. In the end it is the antagonist of this movie, Frank D'Amico (played WELL by Mark Strong) that tells his son (Red Mist) to defend him from Hit-Girl. Hit-Girl had just (conveniently) killed all of his other bodyguards in a bloody and violent and terrifying way. Red Mist had protection until the end and then his father tried to feed him to Hit-Girl.

All I can say is, WOW! HELL YES!! When I grow up I want to be like Hit Girl. See this on the big screen before it is too late. Bring a date. Bring your wife/husband and hire a sitter. It's definitely worth it.

*** out of ****

Total Recall
Total Recall (2012)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I am fairly sure tha this movie was judged a bit harshly because its predacessor from Paul Verhoeven was so highly acclaimed. Here Len Wiseman dared to remake this great film (or should I say short story "We Can Remember it for you Wholesale" by Philip K Dick) and Len elected to of course add some sci-fi bling bling to it that was fairly well done.

To be fair, I don't think it is fair to compare this work to that of Paul Verhoeven - who now in light of this and the coming Robocop will look prodigious compared to the people reimagining the works of Philip Dick. But, in hindsight, I would say that this film was remarkable in the special effects department and it was remarkable in the action department.

What is lacking? Story elements is my first answer. How did Melina quickly find Quaid on the highway after "looking everywhere" for him? How were the antagonists able to maintain pursuit after it seemed like Quaid had lost them?

And what was it again that Quaid remembered in the end that was a startling revelation that brought resolution to this picture about rememberance?

It would have been nice also to have seen a bit more intellectual material instead of wall to wall action....

I still give this a passing grade because in my perspective, had I seen this and it was not a remake I would not have judged it so harshly or had expectations.

Skyfall (2012)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I went in to Skyfall expecting to be wowed and amazed by violence and action and chase scenes and women. In a large way this movie succeeds and surpasses many of the previous Bond installments that I have seen.

I was slightly let down by 007s quartermaster Q - Ben Whishaw who was brilliant in his role - was limited to giving bond only 2 gadgets. I thought that it would have been a bit more awesome to see a few more awesome gizmos coming from Q.

Also I thought that the baton passing at the end was a bit sad (but definitely not something that detracts from the film - just be ready for a twist for future installments)

If you like good action flicks or if you are someone who enjoys 007 - this movie would be a good one to see!