Friday, October 28, 2011

In Time review

In Time is the latest action thriller from director Andrew Niccol, who has done numerous sci-fi thrillers in the past. The story is set in the near future, the year 2025. People stop aging at 25, and must earn the rest of their life. The rich can live forever. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is 28 (in real time). He lives in the ghetto, and works and lives day by day. Him and his mom (Olivia Wilde), live day-by-day to survive. He goes to the bar with his friend (Johnny Galecki) and meets Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer), a guy from the richest time zone. He is targeted by a gang led by Fortis (Alex Pettyfer), but Will gets him away just in time. Hamilton explains the system to Salas and then gives him all his time so that he can die. Will moves to the richest zone and meets Sylvia and Phillipe Weis (Amanda Seyfried and Vincent Kartheiser). When Timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) learns of Hamilton's death, he quickly targets Salas. Salas kidnaps Sylvia and tries to overthrow the system by essentially being Robin Hood and giving to the poor.

This movie has a lot of stars, but only a few shine. Timberlake and Seyfried are surprisingly flat for the lead actors. Their romance is forced and takes up time that could be used for better reasons. Olivia Wilde and Johnny Galecki are pretty big stars but the film cant find anything for them to do. The best performances come from Murphy, Pettyfer, and Kartheiser. The movie uses too much time to deal with the relationship to realize that the most dynamic characters have smaller roles. Basically, the film is flat with Timberlake and Seyfried but comes alive with Kartheiser and the villians.

The film has an excellent first act. But around the time Salas and Sylvia start running from Leon it starts to get boring. The film has too much romantic tension and could use a bit more action and drama. The film springs back to life in the third act with lots of action and good drama.

Excuse the time puns in the following paragraph. In Time is not a waste of time, its a pretty solid movie. But some poor execution in the middle makes for a movie that's worth seeing but not the intense cat and mouse thriller it should be.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C                                            (5.7/10)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Potter", "Super 8", "Apes" to hit Blu-Ray soon

Summer movie season is well over now and the holidays are just beginning. That means that some of the biggest summer blockbusters will be coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. With Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Green Lantern already on Blu-Ray, here is your schedule of remaining Blu-Ray releases.

October 25: Captain America: The First Avenger

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray combo Pack with an iTunes compatible digital copy, and 3D Blu-Ray combo pack

BEST VERSION: Unless you love 3D, get the Blu-Ray combo pack

October 25: Winnie the Pooh

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray+DVD, and Blu-Ray combo pack with an iTunes compatible digital copy

BEST VERSION: Unless you have no Windows or Apple devices, get the Blu-Ray combo pack

November 1: Cars 2

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray+DVD, and a Blu-Ray 3D combo pack with a iTunes digital copy

BEST VERSION: Unless you have to have it on your iPod or are in love with Blu-Ray, get the standard DVD

November 11: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray combo pack, Standard Blu-Ray and numerous exclusives including a Blu-Ray 3D combo pack at Best Buy and a special features loaded DVD at Wal-Mart

BEST VERSION: The digital copy on the combo pack is worthless if you an Apple device, but if you want special features, get the Wal-Mart special edition

November 15: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

VERSIONS: Standard DVD (other versions already released)

November 22: Super 8

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Standard Blu-Ray (only at Wal-Mart), Blu-Ray Combo Pack with iTunes compatible digital copy

BEST VERSION: With hours of bonus features and a digital copy, the Blu-Ray combo pack is the best for Super 8 fanatics (like me!)

December 6: Cowboys and Aliens

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray combo pack

BEST VERSION: The combo pack is probably the best buy.

December 13: Kung Fu Panda 2

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray combo pack with iTunes compatible digital copy and new bonus shorts

BEST VERSION: With two shorts and a digital copy that works with iTunes, the Blu-Ray combo pack is the best buy.

December 13: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

VERSIONS: Standard DVD, Blu-Ray combo pack with iTunes compatible digital copy


Those are most of the major releases. Others include The Smurfs on December 2, The Help on December 6, Crazy, Stupid, Love on November 1, The Hangover Part 2 on December 6, 30 Minutes or Less on November 15, and The Change-Up on November 8.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Real Steel review

Real Steel is the latest film from Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy. Levy has mostly done family comedies in the past, but with Real Steel he goes into more action-drama territory.

Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed up boxer who is desperate for cash. Charlie was a world-class boxer, until the boxing game changed. Now robots do all the fighting. Charlie is high in debt and finds scrap metal to put robots together. When Charlie's ex-girlfriend dies, his son Max (Dakota Goyo) becomes his. He sells him away to his Aunt and Uncle, but is forced to take him for the summer. Charlie and Max go through the fighting world until the find a bot called Atom. Atom and Max quickly bond and Atom becomes a likable underdog.

Goyo is a great young actor and has a lot of great chemistry with Jackman. Jackman is perfect for his role. I can't say a lot of great things about the rest of the cast. Kevin Durand has great moments as Ricky but Evangeline Lilly and Anthony Mackie are useless as Bailey and Finn. Meanwhile Ogla Fonda and Karl Yune are good as main rival Zeus' trainers.

Steven Spielberg produced this movie and you can feel his touch on it. Instead of just focusing on the robot-on-robot carnage, he focuses on story and relationships. Max and Atom's bond together was fun to watch, and you could see Spielberg's effect on the film. While the film is mostly serious, it has its funny moments too.

My main complaint is that the movie was too long. It was over two hours long, but it could have been shorter. The robot action was good but it didn't blow me away. There were several scenes that could have been cut out.

The ending is great even though its predictable. It gives a fun, action climax to the film. Overall, I liked Real Steel but it didn't blow me away like some other films this summer.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C                                            (5.7/10)