Based on Orson Scott Card’s much loved, much debated, sci-fi novel, many fans of Ender’s Game worried that Gavin Hood’s adaptation would take liberties with the source material and turn the story into a big, empty action spectacle. Those fears have mostly been assuaged, as Hood, who also handled the scripting duties, turns in a film that dwarfs his last movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in both scale and quality. There are times when you feel like you’re watching a real classy Starship Troopers.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
While we usually aim our coverage at a more grown up audience (age wise anyway, there’s no taking into account the maturity levels of our dutiful readers), we’re fully aware that there is a younger generation of burgeoning sci-fi fans. A few of us are even spawned and are raising them ourselves. That said, kid centric movies can often be a difficult task to sit through (Mars Needs Moms anyone?), even for the most hardened B-movie fans among us. So when you get a kid’s sci-fi movie that you can enjoy right along side those miniature versions of yourselves, and not want to gouge our eyes out, you have to jump on that opportunity.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
When we last left the jaunty band of zombie-apocalypse survivors in AMC’s The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was getting sucked back into his role as the-guy-who-has-to-make-horrible-decisions, and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) discovered two burned bodies in the prison yard. Overall, things weren’t looking particularly rosy between this, a plague tearing through their ranks, and walkers about to crash through the fences. Will this week’s installment, “Isolation,” find them in less dire straights? Read on to find out.
Beware, spoilers ahead.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
“The Counselor” is a movie I’ve been pumped up for since we first heard that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy delivered a screenplay instead of the new novel that his agents and publishers expected. Add director Ridley Scott (“Alien”) to the equation, and an insane cast of top tier, A-list celebrities, and you start to understand the excitement. Weirdly, there’s been almost no buzz leading up to the release. It didn’t play at any of the recent big name festivals, press screenings were all late so enough that no one has been talking about it, and why the hell does Cameron Diaz have a cheetah in all the trailers? Unfortunately, the movie falls way, way short of expectations. Roughly one-third is the precise movie I hoped for, while the rest is a complete and total disappointment.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” took a critical drubbing when the film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last May. People seriously hated on this movie. During the wide release the stance softened a few degrees, and the film garnered some much-deserved praise. Perhaps “Only GodForgives” isn’t the masterpiece “Drive” is, but it’s still a damn fine motion picture, full of stoic outlaws, sudden eruptions of violence, and gorgeous cinematography. Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, if you’re a fan of Refn’s previous work, you should definitely pick this one up and give the disc a couple plays.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Just when Rick thinks he’s out, they pull him back in. That seems to be the overwhelming them of “Infected,” tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. The former sheriff, played by Andrew Lincoln, is trying to step back from being the leader, from being the one who has to make—or more often than not in the last three seasons, not make—the tough decisions. He almost lost his own humanity, and sanity, and that of his mop-haired son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), so nowadays he’s just a simple farmer man, digging in the dirt, hanging out with pigs, not even carrying his signature revolver. Does this tranquility last long? No. We’ll get that out of the way up front—you didn’t really expect it to, did you—but we can dig into the specifics after the jump.
William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” is the most terrifying horror movie ever made. Other opinions on this topic are valid, but wrong, and though there are any number of truly horrifying films out there, none of them can even hold “The Exorcist’s” jock. The first time I watched “Psycho,” alone in the dark, is as close as any other movie has ever come, but that still pales in comparison. And because it’s October, and because what better time of year to revisit all of your favorite spooky films, Warner Bros. has just released a badass 40th anniversary Blu-ray of “The Exorcist,” and it has all the bells and whistles you anticipate from a release like this.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Almost exactly a year ago (okay, it’s been a little bit longer, this was meant to be done way, way earlier), Pete Travis’ ultraviolent comic book adaptation Dredd fell on its face harder than Rob Schneider in that video you just watched. Dropped into the notorious dead zone that is late September—it’s netherworld between summer blockbuster season and fall/winter awards fishing season—this is a movie that did practically no business at the box office. Even with a relatively modest budget of $50 million—which is practically nothing when it comes to a comic book movie anymore—the film only grossed $13 million in the US, for a total of $35 million worldwide.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
It feels like the season four premiere of AMC’s TheWalking Dead, “30 Days Without an Accident,” has been coming since the very second season three wrapped up. Well tonight, finally, we don’t have to slog through any more ominous videos, short clips, or wait any longer at all.
Despite the fact that I have a rocky relationship with the hit zombie drama, especially last season—which featured some of the best episodes in the franchise, as well as some of the absolute worst—the producers have done a solid job building up to the new episodes. New showrunner Scott Gimple, and the rest of the production crew, have been saying all of the right things, promising to address many of the ongoing issues the series has battled. Going back to the first trailer that appeared at San Diego Comic-Con back in July, all of the promotion has created an ominous sense of intrigue, piquing your interest without giving away too much.
Now we have the opportunity to see if season four of The Walking Dead was worth the wait.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
“Machete Kills” is a lot like watching a spoof movie, and not a good one like “Airplane!” or “The Naked Gun.” We’re talking “Epic Movie” or “Meet the Spartans” here. I won't lie, there are some chuckles, but what the sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s 2010 “Machete” does is take all of the things that make the original a ton of fun, and blows them up into an oversized cartoon. Instead of an homage to gritty, sleazy exploitation films of yesteryear, “Machete Kills” takes on the madman taking over the world sub genre favored by middle-era James Bond films, mixes that with an excess of “Star Wars” jokes, and concocts a bland caricature.
“We Are What We Are” just may be the artiest backwoods cannibal movie you’re likely to find. Don’t worry, though, because as much as director Jim Mickle (“Stake Land”) does to pretty things up in his remake of the 2010 Mexican horror joint of the same name, there is still more than enough gore, brutality, and creepiness to sate your bloodthirsty little soul. Moody, tense, and delicately layered, when you boil it down to the bare essentials, this is still the story of an isolated, woodsy family eating folk.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
We could sit here all day and argue about our own personal definitions of science fiction, especially in regards to Alfonso Cuarón’s latest offering, Gravity. While the film does lack some of the traditional speculative hallmarks of the genre, like a futuristic setting, technology run amok, and pushing the present bounds of science, the action does go down in space. For all the flashing lights, fancy NASA equipment, and mind boggling cinematography, this is a story very much rooted in the current age, in the here and now. But doesn’t matter what the hell label you settle on, because regardless of what you call it, Gravity is an incredible movie, and the best reason this year to drag your ass to the theater and drop the extra cash on an IMAX ticket.