Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Noah (2014)" starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly

Am predicting Oscar Nom for Best Picture; and nom for Russel Crowe as Best Actor. What made this special for me was where it went the last ten minutes. I didn't expect it, and that's what made it extraordinary for me. It elevated it to a higher vibrational message. Without the last 10 minutes, it still would have been a powerful picture, but with it... I left feeling good.

IMDB page:
Tags: Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Darren Aronofsky, Tessie Jayme, Action, Adventure, Drama

"Way of Kings" written by Brandon Sanderson, published August 31, 2010

I've completed the first volume of Brandon Sanderson's WAY OF KINGS series. This guy knows how to generate suspense, create wonderful main characters, and keep you involved. Vol. 1 has over 1000 pages, and it took me two weeks to complete... read a few chapters each night before going to sleep Actually, I had already read it several years ago but the 2nd volume wasn't ready, so I had to read it again. 

Got Volume 2 yesterday. Oboy... the story continues. Brandon was the author who took over writing the last volumes of WHEEL OF TIME (out of 14) after Robert Jordan passed away. WAY OF KINGS is just as good, folks.

More info:
Wiki page:
Tags: Epic fantasy, Tor books, The Stormlight Archive,

"Edge of Tomorrow (2014)" starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt

It's a brilliant concept.. the beginning reminiscent of Groundhog Day but with a much more sinister plot line. What's great is that Tom starts out a namby-pamby coward who has no clue how to be a soldier in a computer-mechanized body suit fighting an incredibly fast and dangerous alien enemy. 

Emily Blunt's beauty is not fragile nor soft, but tough, strong and ruthlessly military. She is one of the best partners Tom has had in a long time. The evolution of their love story is mature and wonderfully credible. Together, they make a fantastic do-or-die heroic team, kicking ass to save the world, in that infamous all-or-nothing Tom Cruise way. 

The direction is tight, taut and suspenseful, somehow making sense despite the convolutions of the plot. The ending is (sigh) absolutely satisfying and beautifully wrought... both in a romantic and soulful way. Recommend.

IMDB page:
Tags: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Doug Liman, Action, Sci-Fi, Tessie Jayme

"Imprint (2007)" starring Tonantzin Carmelo

Just watched IMPRINT, a 2007 movie now available for view on Netflix. It was produced, directed, and written by Michael Linn. He also did some editing, wrote the score and acted as DP. This guy is a cinema talent in one package. 

The movie is lovely, a story about an American Indian woman who has lost touch with her heritage and rediscovers her inherent Native American spirituality while trying to deal with her father's impending death. 

There is a murder mystery entwined in the story as well. An excellent film. Apparently many of his family members helped in the making of and completion of this wonderful film. RECOMMEND.

IMDB page:
Tags: Tonantzin Carmelo, Drama, Thriller, Tessie Jayme, Netflix, Michael Linn

"Homefront (2013)" starring Jason Statham

Just saw HOMEFRONT on Netflix, starring Jason Statham and script written by Sylvester Stallone. Stallone is brilliant at setting up a storyline where HERO becomes UNDERDOG and then has to fight against incredible odds to become HERO again. And that's what Statham does. 

In this actioner, he's ex-DEA retiring to be a father for his little girl, and then everything goes to hell. Statham is as badass as anyone can get when fighting for those he loves... him and Bruce Willis...greatest badasses around. What makes them wonderful to watch is that as tough as they are, they know how to come from the heart and be the most tender badasses imaginable. I'll watch anything they're in. RECOMMEND.

IMDB page:
Tags: Jason Statham, Action, Crime, Thriller, Tessie Jayme, Netflix

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)" starring Gary Oldman

This is a classic masterpiece. It's a metaphor of the human condition. Caesar, head Ape, embodies the highest level of integrity humans are capable of, and Kado, a lab victim of abuse, represents the basest instincts humans feel when survival becomes the prime directive. The merging of real-time scenes to CGI effects is seamless and brilliant. 

The storyline generates suspense and provokes profound thoughts which challenge us all to recognize that, yes, while we have supposedly evolved from Apes, did the evolution take us to ugly depths instead of noble heights? 

If you aren't afraid of looking into a mirror which shows you the darkest truth about yourself, go see this one. And if you're just interested in a thrilling adventure, which engages your emotions, then go see this one. Either way, it's a recommend.

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Tags: Gary Oldman, Planet of the Apes, Andy Serkis, Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Tessie Jayme

"Lucy (2014)" starring Scarlett Johansson, directed by Luc Besson

Luc Besson is a writer/director who likes to break through the traditional box... he takes you so out there that for me, anyway, my mind has a hard time coming back to the traditional-thinking world. 

LUCY starts out as a suspense/adventure thriller, and in the first 10 minutes, we see what a really wonderful actress Scarlett can be. She does more acting in the first 10-15 minutes than I've seen actresses do in their whole career. 

The second act could have gone in a dozen different directions... and traditionally, thrillers maintain the action/adventure trajectory. But that ain't Luc's style... he goes into quantum physics territory and challenges us to rethink the nature of reality. The MATRIX movies did the same thing, but by the third movie, Matrix was pure action/adventure. Not so LUCY. 

Besson presents his complex theories in an entertaining way that makes sense. Since more of us today know the basic workings of a computer, Besson uses that framework to expound his concept of the nature of reality. Man, I'm sold! 

If I have a complaint, it's that Besson had to bring back the action/adventure energy in the third act (gotta sell this movie) and the way he did it begs the question: If Lucy at 20% brain capacity can use her mind to take out 20 villains in a single thought, why, at 100% capacity, can't she take out a whole building full of assassins. As Besson has written it, dozens of bad and good guys die in an all-out kill fest while Lucy saves the world by creating a computer to store the information in her head. Nah... at 100% capacity, her brain is five times more powerful than at 20%, so nah, that part I didn't buy. 

Still, solid entertainment, thought-provoking concept, great directing and acting. Recommend.

IMDB page:
Tags:  Luc Besson, movie review, Scarlett Johansson,  Action, Sci-Fi, Tessie Jayme