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Monday, September 17, 2012

Big Miracle

big Miracel Poster
I wasn't really going to review this movie for the blog, but then I had to.  It's strange...
I came in today to work, and being the resident movie buff at the office was immediately asked what I watched in the weekend and if it was any good. I was about to tell them, when suddenly I drew (no pun intended) a blank. I could not for the life of me remember what I watched.
The movie was so bland, I forgot it almost as soon as it ended. But why, why was it so bland? So unmemorable? So utterly average that it left no impression on me whatsoever. Well lets try to find out as we dig into Big Miracle
The movie features many good actors, an interesting story based on real events, and a coming together of the most unlikely allies to get through, but yet the movie just never gets past a low murmur in terms of pacing and storytelling
The story is based around the endeavor to save 3 stranded whales in Northern Alaska. you would think this would make for a compelling heart wrenching story, and that the main focus would be the whales, but no. They are relegated to circumstantial participants, and the movie focuses on everything but them.
We start off as an on site reporter played by John Krasinski has broadcast his final story to his CBS network news show in Alaska, and is getting ready to leave the tiny town in search of more stories to cover throughout Alaska. Suddenly he finds 3 whales trapped under the ice, with only a small hole that lets them come up for air. The next available surfacing area is to far away for them.
So he transmits his story, and lo and behold his crazy environmentalist ex-girlfriend played by Drew Barrymore sees it, and angrily calls him up demanding to know why he did not call her up there. Once there she manages to get the owner of a big Oil company, played by Ted Danson, that's getting ready to dig for oil there to help her out.
Peter Jennings (actual footage of him) turns the situation into a Nationwide event when he airs the story, prompting tons of reporters to flood the tiny town. Eventually the media coverage forces president Raegan to call up then USSR president Gorbachev too loan them an ice breaker to cut through the massive ice wall blocking the whales' path.
Meanwhile with the help of the local Iniut tribe they cut breathing holes for the whales out to the massive Ice wall, and get them to swim there while the ice breaker arrives to smash the wall.
That's the basic premise. There are more small arcs, and plots that get brought up, and then immediately resolved or forgotten, but nothing of consequence ever happens. The story is very linear, there is no feeling of urgency or the possibility of failure. The movie simply tells the facts straight, but makes no effort to make them interesting or engaging. The characters don't evolve, most of them are quite unlikable and at the same time forgettable. Its just bland.
At the end the movie is o.k. but there's just nothing there to make it memorable. The cast had little to work with, and even though Drew Barrymore gets to be slightly annoying, as the environmentalist, she quickly drops that aspect, and is just bland. All in all whatever minor character traits and build up there was, seems to be ignored for the final act. At the end the real reason its forgettable, is because nothing ever happens that invests you in the movie, and the characters are so 2 dimensional there's nothing there to relate 2.
2.5 out 5 but note the blandness of it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Grey

The Grey Poster
The movie seems to promise quite a bit, but never really delivers.

It seems the movie makers weren't quite sure what type of movie they wanted to make, and ended up making something that is neither here nor there.  Liam Neeson stars as a sniper hired to kill wolves and other dangerous animals in an oil  field in Alaska.  His character starts off ready to off himself, because he no longer feels he has anything to add to the world.  This is a good starting point to develop his character, but he seems to do a 180 almost instantly without any explanation when the plane they are on crashes in the wilderness. There's really no development here that suggests he would immediately want to do this. He just does it.

Then the movie grows grim and grey as the title suggest killing off characters one by one without giving us the time to actually get to know them, and expects us to be sorry they died.

Nothing really happens with the story they started to tell, it just sort off vanishes off into thin air, all the while keeping Neeson's character in the same exact moral spot he was at the beginning. Even the character tries to fight it, but the story just doesn't let him escape his pre-planned doom. Which by the second act is painfully clear where this is headed.

At the end everybody dies. And Neeson realizes it has all been in vain. Yes 2 hours of the viewers life wasted, because there was no point to this movie.

Of course this is all an issue with the story line, but there's more in this movie to cringe about. The survival of these workers is hampered not only by the atrocious weather, which doesn't seem to affect them more than just making it difficult to move, the frostbite, the pneumonia, etc... that can be caused by this weather are never addressed, except for a throwaway scene with one of the survivors coughing up blood; there also a pack of CGI wolves which is systematically hunting them.  The wolves  which are massive, almost bear sized, rather than large dog sized seem to think that attacking these humans is a good idea. The movie makes it a point that they aren't eating them, so why do the wolves seem to be intent on killing them, if they haven't even so much as approached them. It just seems to be a device to artificially add suspense to the movie.

Then there are the plot holes. The survivors gather what they can from the wreckage, and try to make it to some trees in the distance to escape the wolves.  Eventually reaching a chasm they need to cross. They do that by making one of them leap off the edge of the mountain and land on a nearby pine tree and tie a rope around it so the others may cross. Once at the bottom, they find the wolves there too. So where did they come from, are these now rappelling wolves? Flying wolves than can just get down a 100 foot chasm that seemed to pose a near impossible vertical climb to the men, but the wolves can happily find a way down faster?

At the end only Neeson is left alive, cursing at god, for not doing anything to save him, and he realizes he just walked in to the wolves den, and is about to get mauled alive. Then the movie ends.

If this was supposed to be a movie about hopelessness, an pointless antics, it succeeds, but what throws it off is the fact they were establishing something totally different at the beginning.  Personally this movie could have been about survival, and about a man's journey from despair to hope, but ultimately its just as gray as its title.

Unless you like to spend 2 hours with characters that just die in awkward circumstances, and are ravaged by horrible CGi wolves this movie is very skippable.

2.5 out 5

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Top 12 Most Anticipated Movies for 2013

The time of year is here once again, its August, and you know what that means... err o.k so its only the second time I do it, but its going to be a tradition now. This is my list of the top 12 most anticipated movies for next year. Why do I do it in August when most people do it in December? Well because I dare to be different.
As I said last time:

Most of these are still under development, but since IMDB has them slated for 2013, I can consider them. Granted some may not see release then but one can hope.

 So strap on, these are my top 12 most anticipated movies for 2013:



For some reason, this movie attracts me. I'm really not a huge fan of the lord of mystery and suspense, but I have enjoyed his movies, and for some reason found myself watching his TV series: Alfred Hitchcock Presents when they chose to rerun it as a kid. So I'm kind of curious about this one. Starring Anthony Hopkins as the title character it looks to be an interesting ride.


The Wolverine

I know, I know, Origins was a mess of a movie, but what can I say; I guess this is just morbid curiosity of how they'll further screw it up. And what characters they trample over this time. I hope I'm wrong and it turns out to be a good movie, but I'm not harboring much hope.


The Tomb

The Return of Arnie to the big screen. Being such a big fan of his movies, I'm eagerly awaiting this one. Hopefully we'll get to see the implausible Arnie at his best. This should be an action fest like Eraser or Total Recall.


The Hunger Games: Catching fire

Not much to be said about this one, other than I hope it lives up to the first one.


Man of Steel

Superman Returns was everything we did not want or expected in a Superman film, so I don't think this one can do any worse. Hopefully it will reignite the Superman torch and gives us a few more entries into the blue boy scout's cinematic saga.


Untitled Star Trek Sequel

J.J. Abrams tore through the Star Trek universe with little regard for the established continuities and created his own. With the Help of Roberto Orci and his partner in crime: Alex Kurtzman, they created a wonderfully convoluted reason to have a new fresh universe they could work with. Don't know exactly why they felt they need to do that. Still Kurtzman and Orci have delivered some of my favorite TV shows, so it baffles me when they can produce crap like the Transformers movies. Though part of that credit needs to go to Michael Bay, but still... I can't help but wonder what they'll do to Star Trek this time.


G.I. Joe: Retaliation

What can I say, I really want to see the continuation of this story. The anticipation was only made worse when they pushed back the release date to run it through the 3D conversion process. Personally I think its unnecessary, but 3D is in so much vogue right now, everybody wants to be in 3D.



Yes this remake has me on the edge of my seat. Robocop 1 & 2 were the personification of what 80's R rated action films were all about. Blood, gore, violence and awesome heroes that wasted bad guys left and right in really gruesome ways. This Robocop is supposedly going to keep the R rating which just makes me giddy with anticipation for it.


Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking

Ahh Riddick... from little Sci-fi horror movie, to Sci-fi icon... He's the man with the silver eyes. Hope this sequel is a good one. Looking forward to it.

Top 3


Iron Man 3

This is an obvious one. I'm a big fan of Marvel movies, loved the first 2 Iron -Man movies and thoroughly enjoyed Avengers, so of course I'm really anticipating this one.


Pacific Rim

This one caught me totally by surprise. Being the big fan of Guillermo del Toro that I am, when I found out he was making this as a homage to giant robot anime, and giant monster movies from Japan, I was thrilled. This promises to be an awesome film, if his previous work on Hellboy and Blade are any indication. It could also open the door for more Giant robot movies. Who wouldn't love to see Mazinger Z or Voltron live action movies???

And the number one most Anticipated film for 2013 is:

Mortal Kombat

O.K. Lets get it out of the way first: Mortal Kombat 1 was a decent movie. Mortal Kombat Annihilation was crap. Pure and simple Crap. This new iteration is inspired by a short film starring Michael Jai White as Jax Briggs, and Kerry Ryan as Sonya Blade. The short film eventually led to a web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, and has now made it possible for New Line Cinema to green light a new theatrical version. The premise of the short film is centered on the real world, were the MK characters are all alternate versions of the themselves. The short film was received positively, though it caused a bit of confusion. This theatrical version has some promise if you look at the short film. Hopefully it will turn out to be a good movie, with a functional plot. I'm really looking forward to this movie, as it could be the way to bring MK lore to the fore front, and have some good movies made.

WTF Mention:


While researching the movies coming out next year I found this little gem of WTFness. Back in 1988, comedy director, and Ghostubusters producer Ivan Reitman teamed up Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito for what would be the first of several comedy movies for Arnold. That movie was Twins. Arnold and Devito play twins separated at birth and wackiness ensues. now who really sat at a movie studio meeting an said: "You know what we need? A sequel to Twins!" That movie was awesome, we need a sequel to expand upon the story of Julius and Vincent. Not only that, we need Eddy Murphy to play the titular triplet. Yes, their third brother is going to be Eddy Murphy. Just let that sink in.