Monday, August 11, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (USA, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

1. This is one of those movies that doesn’t suck, but isn’t awesome, either. It’s fun, but that’s about it.

2. It’s the fifth movie about the turtles, based on the classic comic series. This is a pretty big reboot. It’s directed by Jonathan Liebesman, who directed Battle: Los Angeles and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

3. The movie had to go through several script changes. It was originally darker and more gritty, like the original comic series. But since Nickelodeon was helping to make it, they had to change the script to make it more family-friendly.

4. The plot is generic and tired; an evil businessman wants to poison a city by releasing a chemical into the air. The four turtles try to stop it (yeah, you’ve seen this before, only it was Spider-Man that tried to stop it).  Don’t try too hard to make sense of the story - it’s kind of just thrown together.

5.  Megan Fox April O’Neil. This time, April is a TV reporter. For some reason, Casey Jones is not in this movie. Oh, and Johnny Knoxville is the voice of Leonardo.

6. The turtles themselves are masterpieces of computer generated characters. The special effects in the movie are pretty amazing. And it’s totally worth watching in 3D.

7. It’s got a lot of humor - some of it is kinda dumb, some of it is pretty funny. And it has some great action sequences.

8.  It was produced by Michael Bay. It looks and feels like a Michael Bay film. The last 30 minutes is basically Transformers with turtles instead of robots.

9. Hardcore fans of the real, original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will probably think this movie cuts out all the zany grit that made them so awesome. But if you don’t really know anything about the turtles, you’ll have a good time. And then you’ll go on with your life and probably forget you saw it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy [USA, 2014]

Nine Things about the Movie Guardians of the Galaxy

1. This movie is kind of different than how it’s advertised. The weird thing here, is that the movie is much better than its trailer.

2. It was directed by James Gunn, who is mostly known only among cult movie fans for making the goofy horror-comedy Slither in 2006. If you’ve seen that movie, then you know the kind of filmmaking style he has.

3. The movie opens with a serious, poignant scene of a young boy named Peter facing his mother as she’s dying of cancer. Then he gets abducted by aliens. This forms an emotional core for the rest of the movie, which takes place 26 years later.

4. The movie gives a surprisingly complete picture of the universe that Peter grows up in, and drops a lot of information (and characters) onto the audience in a pretty short amount of time. It requires some attention from the audience to keep up.

5. This is a super smart-ass movie, with quick dialogue and humor that ranges from stupid to smart to just random. It’s one of the funniest science fiction movies I’ve seen in a long time.

6. It also has incredible set design and makeup work. A lot of effort went into the details, making each part of the galaxy seem like its own unique place. Not to mention that this movie has some of the most spectacular space battles since Star Wars. Seriously, it’s kind of epic.

7.  The movie is extremely tongue-in-cheek, but has a couple of somber motifs that weave through the fun. Periodically, issues of family loss and the feelings of being a misfit make some big points.

8. There were only a couple of times that I thought the movie got a little heavy-handed about the power of friendship or whatever.

9. This is a goofy, sarcastic space opera with big action, as well as a big heart. It’s rare that I say this, but there really is something in here for almost everybody.