Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quick Movie Reviews: Scream 4, Thor, X-Men First Class and more

Sucker Punch
A lot of fantastic action sequences and a terrible story in Zack Snyder’s latest movie. Snyder not only directed by wrote the screenplay for this movie. Out of the four main girls in the film, only one survives and the story ends without explaining what happened. Scares me a little that Snyder is directing a new Superman film but at least he didn’t write it.

Good: Action sequences, beautiful girls, and great special effects
Bad: The story
Own It/See It/Pass: Not a movie I’d own but I might give it a second view only to see if I judged it too harshly. You should see it just so you can talk about it with your fellow geeks.

I had so much fun watching this film. It starts at Comic-Con, which I’ve attended every year for over 20 years, so I thought that was awesome. Paul has a great story, it’s funny, and it has plenty of sci-fi in-jokes (if you think, “Hey, is that a reference to…” – it is).

Good: Story, cast, special effects, and plenty of laughs
Bad: Based on their track record, the film makers won’t make a sequel
Own It/See it/Pass: Own it and show it to everyone

Scream 4
The survivors are back to take on another killing spree based on the rules of horror movie remakes. Scream 4 is a great addition to the franchise not just because it’s a sequel, but it’s also serves to reboot the franchise.

Good: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette are back. Kevin Williamson wrote the first film and is back to write this one and Wes Craven is at the helm again. This film has a lot of great cameos and a terrific main cast, the proper Scream-quota body count, and is a great introduction for a new generation of fans.
Bad: Any time you do a sequel to something, why does a happy couple from a previous movie spend most of the time fighting when you know they’re going to rekindle the romance by the end of the film (like Hellboy 2, National Treasure 2, etc.) – in this case Dewey and Gail (played by Courtney Cox & David Arquette).
Own It/See it/Pass: Now that the first 3 films are out on blu ray (they’ve been out of print for a long time on DVD), buy all four.

Another Marvel Comics flagship character makes it onto the big screen. The film, like all superhero movies, is an origin story. It starts with an arrogant, selfish Thor but by the end of the movie he learns humility and sacrifice in time to be worthy to wield his signature hammer and save the day. I’ve never been a Thor fan and I’ve never collected any of Thor’s books so I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised.

Good: Thor becoming the hero he was meant to be was fun to watch. The Warriors Three and Sif were steadfast and loyal friends. Asgard looked fantastic in the film. There was a great cameo from future Avenger, Hawkeye.
Bad: Does anyone else hate SHIED agent Coulson? Natalie Portman is wasted on the lukewarm love story between her character and Thor. I would have loved to see Portman as Sif.
Own It/See it/Pass: See it on the big screen and then add it to your blu ray collection. This is the forth film leading up to one of the most anticipated films in all of fandom’s history: The Avengers. This film is just as good as the other films and will hopefully lead to sequels.

Hangover II
The Wolfpack is back and funnier than ever. While most sequels try to break new ground or go in a different direction, this one sticks to the formula established in the first film: get drugged, wake up with a wild animal, lose a member of the Pack, hijinks ensue, run in with Mr. Chow, wedding, and photos for the credits.
Good: The originals are all back. While the film sticks to the formula of the first one, the humor remains unexpected and hilarious with plenty of twists and turns.
Bad: The Mike Tyson cameo. The cast had moral objections to a cameo by Mel Gibson but keep making films with a wife beater and convicted rapist. And the cameo wasn’t even funny.
Own It/See it/Pass: See it on the big screen. Even if you can’t hear all of the dialogue through the laughter, seeing it with a big crowd is great. If you own the first film, add this one to your shelf. If you don’t own the first film, chances are you won’t add this to your collection either. For that matter, if you didn’t like the first film, you won’t like this one either.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Captain Jack Sparrow is back for another helping of supernatural adventure in the forth film of the franchise. Jack is again entangled in the ambitions of pirates and armies both looking for the Fountain of Youth.

Good: Sparrow is one of the best film characters around. The action is great and it’s nice to see Barbosa and Gibbs again.
Bad: Sparrow is again just along for the ride while being used for information. Would have been great if it was Jack with his own crew again but he was just along for the ride in this one and didn’t play a big part in his own movie.
Own It/See it/Pass: Pass on it, I wish I had. If you’re not a huge fan of the original trilogy, this movie will be mildly entertaining at best. It wasn’t worth seeing and I won’t be adding this film to the blu ray shelf.

X-Men: First Class
The X-Men film franchise goes back to the beginning to tell the story of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr’s friendship and eventual rivalry. The film shows the pair recruiting other mutants to battle a deadly group of mutants who are instigating a nuclear war between Russia and The United States.

Good: The origin of Charles and Erik and their friendship despite the differences in their beliefs. All of the nostalgia is in this film – the introduction of the Blackbird, the mansion as a headquarters, the creation of codenames for the recruits, how Magneto got his helmet, and a cameo by a popular mutant that proves this movie is a prequel and not a reboot.
Bad: I can’t think of anything.
Own It/See it/Pass: See it with your fellow geek. Rejoice in its awesomeness. This film fits perfectly in continuity with the first three X-films. I don’t know how well it fits with X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s continuity but I pretend that film doesn’t exist (it was horrible). Put it proudly on your blu ray shelf with the rest of the X-films.

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