Thursday, January 29, 2015

Project Almanac: Can't Get That Time Back

Movie Review 

Tuesday night the crew of The Atemi-Cast went to the sneak preview of "Project Almanac." I am trying to think of a way to be nice. I am failing miserably. This unsuccessful attempt at a science fiction thriller was by Director Dean Israelite. Israelite is the cousin of Jonathan Liebesman. Liebesman is known for the "Wrath of the Titans," "Battle of Los Angeles," and most recently "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." I guess having family in the business helps.

"Project Almanac," reminded me of the other attempted "found footage" films. This was bad. I lost time that I will never get back. At the start of this train wreck, Jonny Weston (David Raskin), is filming his entry appeal to M.I.T.. Raskin's sister played by Amy Landecker is behind the camera. She continues to be the camera operator throughout the film. Her job is the easiest. Raskin and his friends are all science geeks. David Raskin, being an Almanac version of the Marvel character “Tony Stark. His dad "Ben Raskin" played by Gary Weeks is talked about as if he was "Howard Stark." That was one of the cheesy comparisons that were noticeable. Five minutes into the film I realized that the whole movie was going to be a first person camera shoot. Remarkably these teens film their whole lives; documenting every second of the day. The only thing they did not record was themselves taking a piss.

The movie goes on to build on the story that Raskin gets accepted to M.I.T. but cannot afford the tuition. He searches through his dads old inventions, (does this sound familiar) looking for something he could use to apply to another college. He comes across one of Ben Raskins' designs for what looks like a time displacement machine. Raskin and his friends Quinn Goldberg (Sam Lerner) and Adam Le (Allen Evangelista) figure out the design specs. They go on to attempt to make this device work and wouldn't you know it, the hot girl Jessie Pierce (Sofia Black-D'Elia) drives a hybrid car whose battery is perfect for this experiment. They get her to let them borrow her battery, which of course leads Pierce to become curious and to arrive in time to see the "guys" teleport a toy car. The movie drags on with tinkering with the device and the obvious attraction between Raskin and Pierce. The worst part of the plot is how the teens decide to use their new found power to move back in time. Going to rock concerts and winning the lottery "ONCE!" Hello, I think I would have won the big one at least two more times. If not that, then at least take a trip to vegas and place some bets. Retaking tests in school was Goldbergs big thing and Raskins' sister wanted revenge against a school bully. WHAT?!

Raskin makes mistakes. Messing up the deal the friends agreed upon about jumping time alone. He continues jumping trying to get things right. There are a lot of holes in this plot and the science does not make sense. I have put this movie in Davy Jones's locker and leave it there.

Review of Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Movie Review

Last week I was sent passes to review Woman in Black 2. This was a little strange for the movie had been out for several weeks already. But who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth. The cool thing was the passes were for any showing of the movie anywhere the movie happened to be playing. I grabbed my girl and off to the Thursday afternoon matinee we went.

The Woman in Black story has been around since 1989 when it was a British TV movie of the same name. The franchise was resurrected in 2012 by Hammer films. Yes the production company once known as Hammer House of Horror. Hammer films used The Woman in Black (2012) as their reemergence vehicle back into the filmmaking world. Hammer even scored a major coup singing Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role. 

Two years later and Hammer is back with The Woman in Black 2. This story takes place 40 years after the 2012 feature. The time is the 1940's and children of the English Cities have been sent into the countryside. This move was designed to protect them from the Nazi bombings. An unlucky group of children have been sent to the rundown island manner that has been the focal point of a past haunting.

The movie is rich in atmosphere and that is about it. There are no real scares here. There is mostly a lot of set up with little pay off. The film was acted well. It was the performances of the players that kept you somewhat engaged. What was lacking was a real story.

Phoebe Fox does a decent job as the heroine Eve Parkins. What little enjoyment I obtained from this movie was watching Fox. She is a beautiful woman. She also has the acting chops that could take her far if she gets any roles with substance.

I am a little disappointed in Hammer. They should be the masters of horror films but this outing falls flat. They did not do much better with The Quiet Ones. I can only hope Hammer will get their shit together. A Hammer Films reboot of their version of Frankenstein, Dracula, or the Mummy would be sweet.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service a Gentleman’s review

Movie Review

A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing.
Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. - 20th Century Fox

I was privileged to be invited to the first screening of KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE. I was not sure what to expect. The trailers looked good. Unfortunately memory of the movie abortion THE AVENGERS (1998) kept me from buying in. When I reference THE AVENGERS I do not mean the Marvel AVENGERS. I am talking about the subpar Avengers movie starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes. That movie almost destroyed my love of the nineteen sixties TV show. If you liked that sixties spy story style then this updated version of the gentleman spy should be right up your alley.

The main story follows Kingsman agent Galahad (Colin Firth) as he tries to look out for Eggsy the son of an agent that died saving his Life. Eggsy is a smart, physically gifted young man that has given up. He has become a rough boy so he can take care of his mother. These two become embroiled in the strategies of billionaire Valentine. Valentine plans a worldwide genocide with only his chosen people surviving.

THE KINGSMAN has it all; slightly campy pop references, a lisping megalomaniac villain played by Samuel L. Jackson, a beautiful deadly femme fatale (Sofia Boutella), gadgets galore, scores of cannon fodder for action scenes, an anally inclined European princess (Hanna Alstrom), and one of the best no holds barred fight sequences ever put on film. I hope I did not give too much away.

See KINGSMAN in the theaters! It is worth the money.


Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine
Colin Firth as Harry Hart (Galahad)
Michael Caine as Arthur
Taron Egerton as Gary 'Eggsy' Unwin
Sofia Boutella as Gazelle
Mark Strong as Merlin