Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Lucy

Movie– Lucy

TL;DR–  Good, but not for everyone-88%

 

Basics– Lucy is the story of a young women who is unwittingly drafted into a drug smuggling operation.  Drugs are hidden inside of her, but during an attempted rape, she is kicked so hard the drug bags rupture flooding her system with a mind expanding drug.  Now, the drug gives her the unprecedented ability to use more of her mind’s capacity than any human before.  What happens next is crazy!  There is a cartel after her as she travels the world to deliver all the knowledge she has gained to the one man who can use it.  Get ready for heavy philosophy in between car chases, gun battles, and torture.

 

Story– This one requires a bit of imagination.  Lucy is a fun ride, but has a few moments where you as the audience have to decide to not think.  For the high points, the movie is great, but for some minor sticking points, the story doesn’t make sense.  Not the 10% figure on brain use, that is better explained in the movie than the trailer, but some elements like the drug cartel actions and people attacking a lady who can change gravity make no sense.  It’s fun, it will make you think, but if you think a bit too hard some things will stop working on the level of movie disbelief.  If you can get past that, you will have an awesome time and begin to really think about some of the messages in the movie. 4/5

 

Acting– For the most, part the acting is done well too.  Scarlett Johansson does a great job playing several different roles as she basically loses her humanity to become something else.  Some things are a bit off like why would drug smugglers act the way they do, but it’s only some minor problems.  Scarlett is the focus.  And, the movie stays with her, and that’s how it should be. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– This movie uses lots of quick scenes to flash ideas into the audience’s minds.  It works well.  The special effects are done pretty well.  A few things like Lucy at the end seemed a bit simple for modern CGI, but that’s more me being nitpicky than it looking like something from the SCYFY channel’s midnight movie release.  Also, get ready for lots of deific imagery.  I don’t hate it, but it’s here! 4.75/5

 

Summary– I really “liked” this one.  It’s billed as one kind of movie (ass kicking not Black Widow with more brains then NASA), but it’s really quite another movie (what is man’s role in the universe).  The movie is not bad, but my enjoyment of this movie didn’t come from the destruction.  Yes, people get shot up.  Yes, car chases.  But, the movie is really about how important knowledge is.  I’ve heard others say it’s the most pro-science thing since Cosmos ended, and I kind of felt that way.  This is good, classic sci-fi.  It’s got guns et al for the low-brow fun, but it’s also got some really heavy things to think about after.  This is a great movie to take any geek to and have fun conversations after discussing what it all meant, but it’s a bad movie to go see because you just want an explosion-a-thon. 88%

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Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction

Movie- Transformers 4: Age of Extinction

TL;DR- BOOM! 73%

 

Basics- The transformers are back.  The Autobots are in hiding as the US government and CIA are now hunting down all transformers.  Alongside the government, the US and CIA are working with a transformer bounty hunter who is hunting Optimus Prime.  Can the Autobots save the day and Optimus?

 

Plot- A major complaint against the last few Transformer movies was that there was no plot.  Well this movie made up for all of that in one fell swoop!  This movie has WAY too many plots.  The movie itself stretches for over two hours.  And, the plots of those two plus hours are kind of convoluted and all over the place to boot.  The story itself isn’t that great.  There are a lot of problems here. 2/5

 

Acting-The acting in this one isn’t bad.  The characters are pretty consistent and somewhat believable.  Optimus has some major character swing, but the movie is mostly about his growth as a character.  The humans are there, but I didn’t go to a movie about giant robots fighting to care about humans. 4/5

 

Cinematography-The movie looks awesome.  This is a quintessential popcorn movie.  This movie is filled with lots of well executed violence and destruction that makes for an entertaining half of the running time.  When stuff is blowing up you will be entertained.  When characters are talking, it’s pretty boring, but at least it will look nice. 5/5

 

Summary-This is a popcorn movie. If you want to watch some crap blow up, it’s worth your time.  The movie is kind of a plot mess, but Bay knows how to blow some crap up! If you love transformers, then you will love this.  If you like good movies, then not so much. 73%

Silver Screen Smackdown-Movie review-How to Train Your Dragon 2

Movie– How to Train Your Dragon 2

TL; DR– A little rushed, but an awesome movie! 90%

Summary– What happens after the hero wins? How to Train your Dragon 2 picks up with our hero Hiccup now that his town is safe, his people live with dragons, and his dad wants to retire.  Hiccup is being offered the role of chief by his father, but he doesn’t want to lead.  So, he now explores the world trying to find other dragons and land.  As he travels, he finds that others are trapping dragons, and someone is out there protecting the dragons.  Who is this someone and can Hiccup stop the dragon trappers?

 

Story- Just like the first, this story is amazing.   The world gets a decent yet quick introduction, and moves off from there.  My only complaint is this movie doesn’t give enough background to the characters. We are almost assumed to know who they are.  Also, this story will go MUCH further and faster than you think it has a right to!  It’s well done, but a little rushed to get the story in in the run time. 4/5

 

Actors– All the actors knock this one out of the park.  I wish some of the secondary actors would get a bit more screen time as they don’t get the time they deserve to shine.  Even the new actors do amazing jobs and feel like they belong in the world.   I just wish I saw some more of the second string get to play a bit more. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– DreamWorks- you did an amazing job making this look at once beautiful, terrifying, and funny.  Monsters that can kill a man look scary one moment and friendly the next.  The fake dragons have as much personality as the people just through expressions alone. The movie has a consistent style that is phenomenal. 5/5

 

Summary– Let’s not split hairs here-This move isn’t as good as the original.  That is true, but this movie is still a great movie.  Well worth the price of admissions, and I honestly now want there to be a third movie.  I don’t often feel that way anymore about movies, but I want more from this world.  Next time, just give me a few moments to catch my breath and a few more moments with the minor characters! 90%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Maleficent

Movie– Maleficent

TL; DR– Great movie, but not a great retelling. 87%

 

 

Summary-How about a story from the other side?  Maleficent is the story of the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty.  Maleficent starts off as a fey creature from a land locked in war with the land of men.  She is tricked, mutilated, and driven to evil cursing the first born of the human king.  But, how does the story play out looking from the other side?

 

Story– I have mixed feelings on this one.  The movie by itself is awesome.  I liked the plot.  The world is consistent, and the characters fit it in.  BUT, this is a retelling of another movie.  All the major elements from the first movie are there, but they don’t fit with how this movie changes them.  The elements are a bit too scattered to have the two work as being from different sides of the same coin.  Wicked did a god job of making the two sides work, this one gets close but almost falls into the uncanny valley of one looking like another.  The two are there, but as mirrors of one another they just don’t “work” on some levels for me.  3.5/5

 

Actors-All the actors do an amazing job, but a lot of them are not give enough time. You have Jolie doing an excellent job being a fairy, then evil queen, and finally a redemptive angel.  Copley does a good job slowly slipping into crazy too.  Sleeping beauty gets a bit of a roll, but it feels like she’s there pretty much to move those other two set pieces around one another. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– Looks great.  All the characters look like they should.  The kings growing madness is reflected in his castle and the queens anger is reflected in her fey world.  As those actors/characters change so does their world.  Well done CGI. 5/5

 

Summary– This is an amazing stand alone move, but it’s not a standalone movie. As a semi-sequel, I felt the plot was a bit off.  The actors and cinematography are booth great.  If you want a good Disney movie with a bit more adult themes this summer, I’d check this one out! 87%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Edge of Tomorrow

 

Movie– Edge of Tomorrow

TL; DR– Tom Cruise and the Konami code! 93%

 

 

Basics– Tom Cruise plays a sleazy military recruiter who through his own fault is thrown into the worst military blunder in history.  While there, he accidently eats a piece of a time traveling alien, gaining the power to reverse time when he dies.  He embarks on a quest to become the hero and save the human race one continue at a time.

 

Story– This is an excellent single serving Sci-Fi movie.  In a few short minutes, you learn the problems of the world, see how the world works, and jump right in the action.  I loved that.  Rapid pace made the fact that many scenes were direct repeats of one another very awesome and fun to watch.  I watched the same day over 3000 times and didn’t get tired of it!  Ending is a bit too much Deus ex machina for the heroes, but it will do. 5/5

 

Actors– I really liked all the major players in this one.  Cruise does an excellent asshole who learns to be a hero.  The Emily Blunt, the female lead, does a good job too, but she’s a bit too much of a tough as nails bitch through most of the movie.  The secondary characters all don’t get enough time to really develop themselves, and that truly is a shame!  Those guys are almost as interesting as the main characters! 4/5

 

Cinematography– I loved this, hands down.  Things look cool and fresh even after the 300th time through the world.  I loved everything I saw.  Robot suits and aliens are an awesome mix in big budget well done movies! 5/5

 

Summary– It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It’s great single serving Sci-Fi that tells a great story with great actors.  I DON’T want a sequel as this movie told all the story it needs too.  I felt this was an excellent meal from the salad course opening to the desert course.  Well worth your time to see this movie! 93%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of X-men: Days of Future Past

Movie– X-Men: Days of Future Past

TL; DR– A good reboot, but a reboot 90%

 

Basics– The world of tomorrow is destroyed due to man’s eternal quest to stomp out mutants.  In the future, sentinels, robots designed to hunt mutants, are completely hunting man to extinction.  The few remaining X-Men band together to send Wolverine back in time to the 1970’s to stop the sentinels before they begin.  Can Wolverine save us all?

 

Story– The story is ok.  It’s even good.  But, as a comic/movie nerd, I could see the writing on the wall-this is a franchise reboot.  Why do the Spider-Man thing and cast new actors, rehash the same origin, and piss off a bunch of geeks, when you can just do a Back to the Future style reboot and BAMB money!  Honestly it works well, but it’s hard to get past that it’s there to just make more movies.  Don’t care about that?  Then, you will completely enjoy this movie.  Aside from the “reboot movie” feel, there are only a few story elements that didn’t make any sense like leaving Quicksilver back in America instead of him joining the X-Men. 4/5

 

Actors– There are almost NO new major actors in this one.  A few in the past and future, but all the big names we know, and love, are back.  That a good thing.  I liked the continuity that that brings.  Fox has their stuff together keeping these people in the roles there were meant to play.  Heck even in some minor, unimportant roles, you have big name actors coming back just for what is almost a cameo!  There are only a few moments where characters are “off” like Magneto trying to kill another mutant that disrupt the flow of the movie. Not bad at all! 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– It feel like the future when it needs to be the future, and, it feels like the past when it needs to be the past.  That is well done.  Also, this movie uses a few of the older movies scenes to great effect.  If you know what’s going on, you will love it.  If not, it shows that the characters are distracted by memories.  Most likely you’ve seen all the Fox X-Men movies, so, you know what’s going on.  Nothing bad here at all. 5/5

 

Summary– I didn’t hate this.  I actually kind of liked it.  This is honestly the best way I’ve seen to reboot a franchise.  BUT, it’s a reboot of a franchise.  That is hard to put out of mind.  But, the actors, story, and look of the movie do present a great movie that you will enjoy.  I might not like a reboot, but, based on this movie, I will enjoy the new movies that follow this one. 90%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Godzilla (2014)

I loved Godzilla back in the 90’s when I was a kid.  Recently, a new movie came out.  I’ve seen it, but over Memorial Day weekend, I went and saw it with my brothers.  It’s time for a two sided review: one from the perspective of a 30 year old fan and another from a perspective of a six year old, an 11 year old, and two 12 year olds.

 

 

Movie– Godzilla (2014)

 

Young TL;DR-I need to see this again! 92%

Old TL;DR– Good, not great reboot of the franchise. 80%

 

 

Basics– Godzilla’s back!  The world is in peril, and, monsters are springing up that only the giant lizard we all know and love can face.  Is he up to the challenge?

 

Plot-Young-The plot is amazing, but flawed.  We loved the fact that the monsters had a cool back stories with lots of city destruction.  But, too much of the plot had stupid plot points like why the people were in the city when the monsters were there or the nuke transportation problem! 4.5/5

 

Old- This movie focuses more on the human characters and other monsters than Godzilla.  I know why they did it, since you need framing characters to help the audience move from set piece to set piece.  But, Godzilla needed more screen time.  Also, there were some amazingly stupid plot points that really made me scratch my head like nukes and people in the way of a monster.  Also, Godzilla is never really given a reason to fight any other monsters.  He’s a predator, but he never eats any other creatures.  So, why did he do anything he does?  The story’s ok, but flawed. 4/5

 

Acting-Young– Pretty good.  The actors bring the characters to life, but some are a bit off.  It’s not bad, but fairly well done.  Godzilla rocked! 4.3/5

 

Old-The acting is ok.  Godzilla’s awesome, but the humans are, for the most part, ok.  I felt too many of the humans felt off or wooden.  But, I came for Godzilla, so the fake creatures are the best actors.  Take that as you will.  3/5

 

Cinematography-Young-OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING!  THE REAL GODZILLA FIGHTS MONSTERS!  CITIES ARE DESTROYED!  THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER! 5/5

 

Old-OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING!  THE REAL GODZILLA FIGHTS MONSTERS!  CITIES ARE DESTROYED!  THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER! 5/5

 

Summary-Young-This is an awesome Godzilla movie!  Godzilla’s back and better than ever.  He destroys cities and fights monsters.  Slight problems with acting and the plot make for some problems, but nothing that a 40 story monster can’t fix!  We want to see this again and again! Better than the 90’s American movie.  92%

 

Old-It’s not perfect, but it’s Godzilla!  The acting is a problem and so is the plot.  But the look is there.  That’s the Godzilla I remember from old Japanese movies.  Horrible acting, a gonzo plot, and man in suit fights the destroy cities.  Objectively, the movie is good, but not great.  However, I’ve been waiting since Godzilla Final Wars, but I can confidently say GODZILLA’S BACK! 80%