Category Archives: Science Fiction

The World’s End

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

It starts out in one direction – 40-something never-was Gary decides to recreate the highlight of his life, at 17 when he and his 4 buddies went on a legendary pub crawl in his town (but never made it past the 6th of 12 pubs, so now he’s determined to make it all the way to the 12th pub, The World’s End) – then about when I was asking my wife why she picked this film it gets WEIRD, and my jaw dropped and the fun begins. Luckily I hadn’t read any reviews or seen any trailers so I will not give away any surprises here, and encourage you to see this movie pronto. Do not watch the trailer, do not read any reviews beyond this, and you will laugh your ass off. It’s just crazy, and the actors are terrific, especially Simon Pegg as Gary, the leader of the 5 Musketeers.

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

I agree with Bill that this is an excellent movie and is definitely worth seeing. This one is brought to you by the same people who did Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. All three have been written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Wright, and star Simon Pegg. They are all extremely funny and deal with friendship, but are not thematically related. If you liked those other films, you will also enjoy this one.

I will try not to give too much away either, except to say:

– This joins my list of this summer’s movies with robots.

– This would make a great summer of 2013 double-feature if paired with This is The End.

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Elysium

Bill C’s Review – 2.5 out of 5

I had high expectations for Elysium after watching coming attractions for this movie all summer. It has Matt Damon, who has been great in action movies with the Bourne series, and is directed by Neil Blomkamp who made the highly entertaining District 9. This movie was ok, but did not live up to my expectations.

The 1% have now left earth to live in a utopia orbiting earth with machines that can cure any medical problem, while the downtrodden 99% struggle to live on a polluted, decimated earth. Elysium is protected by ‘Homeland Security’ run by Jodie Foster. I usually like Jodie Foster. While she successfully comes across as evil, she has a really weird accent and overall I didn’t like her performance at all.

Matt Damon’s character has had a tough life and is trying to get his life together. But due to circumstances beyond his control, he needs to join up with the resistance to try to reach Elysium and save the 99%. Damon, as usual is good. I also liked many of the action scenes. The first half was better than the second half, and I didn’t really like the ending.  SPOILER ALERT ON  This also had one of my pet peeves on movies with computers being key parts of the plot: when computer screens have random numbers and characters scrolling on and off the screen faster than any human being can read them, it is not possible for the person who has never been exposed to that program to figure out what the program does, how it does it, and to immediately provide his desired input to the program in seconds to save mankind. SPOILER ALERT OFF

This movie joins my growing list of this summer’s films that have robots! This movie is ok…but if you haven’t seen it, stay home and watch District 9 instead.

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Elysium

Star Trek Into Darkness

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Star Trek Into Darkness is the second reboot of the original Star Trek series and occurs with the original characters prior to ‘5 year mission’ of the original series.

The movie will appeal to both fans of Star Trek and just generally sci-fi/action movies. For the most part, the special effects are pretty good (although the communicators that were so awesome almost 40 years ago seem sort of bulky by today’s standards and the phasers are also nothing special today). I liked the action sequences for most of the movie, but thought the ones towards the end were a little overboard and could have been done better.

For fans of the series, there is a lot of the familiar interaction and humor among Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty, as well as the usual discussions on logic vs. gut decisions influenced by emotion. It did bother me a little that the last movie sort of wiped the slate clean of the original TV historical record, with characters going back in time and therefore changing history.

Zachary Quinto was spot-on as Spock and Simon Pegg always added some humor in a underutilized role as Scotty. Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent as the villain. They even brought Leonard Nimoy back for a cameo, but that was sort of a cop-out in my view that the young Spock needed help from the old Spock.

Overall this was a good movie, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I was captured from the opening scene, with the way they immediately immerse you in the adventure, although I rolled my eyes when Spock was able to function in the middle of an active volcano. The story was good enough, bringing to life current issues that we face such as the legality of hunting and killing US citizens “abroad”, and the rogue government agents who become ruthless killers justified by some larger mission. The actors are terrific, the action scenes exciting (terrific editing by Maryann Brandon!), and the villian(s) relentless and heartless. At the end my eyes rolled again when Spock showed off his hand-to-hand fighting skills (and where did that come from?). Overall, a thrilling fun ride from JJ Abrams.

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Looper

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

Looper is a smart sci-fi thriller that starts with the interesting premise of future mobsters  sending their murder victims back in time to get hit and then be disposed of. Sometimes the loop is closed by sending an old hit man to be hit by his younger self. Parts of this film are reminiscent of the Terminator and one character’s mother, played by Bill and Bill movie favorite Emily Blunt, is even named Sara.

Looper has some good plot twists, is well-written and deals with themes of loss, love, regret and redemption. All the main performances were good including Joseph Gordon-Levitt (despite some prosthetic on his face to make him look like the younger version of himself as played by Bruce Willis), Blunt, Willis, Jeff Daniels (very entertaining as a mob boss), and Pierce Gagno as a freaky kid.

Definitely go see it.

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Prometheus

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Prometheus is Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to science fiction. His previous iconic sci fi movies were Aliens and Blade Runner. This film is an indirect prequel to Aliens and focuses on a space mission to find the civilization that planted life on earth and the ensuing struggles to survive.

This is a gorgeous movie to watch. The special effects are excellent and I thought the 3D was extremely effective. While most movies hit you over the head with things coming at you unexpectedly, this 3D usage was much more subtle, especially the great planetary 3D landscape.

I thought the second half of the movie, when the action picked up, became somewhat muddled. The plot could have been simplified and the movie tackled too many themes, including the beginning of life on earth, faith, and eternal life.

Michael Fassbender as the robot David and Charlize Theron as the company representative that financed the expedition were both excellent. Interestingly this was her second evil role in a row (see Bill I’s review of Snow White and the Huntsman). I also really liked Idris Elba as the ship’s captain.

Overall I’d say this was an ok sic-fi movie but it did not quite live up to my expectations.

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