Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Avatar

Starring:
Sam Worthington …  Jake Sully
Zoe Saldana …  Neytiri
Sigourney Weaver … Dr. Grace Augustine
Stephen Lang …  Colonel Miles Quaritch
Joel David Moore …  Norm Spellman
Giovanni Ribisi …  Parker Selfridge
Michelle Rodriguez …  Trudy Chacon
Laz Alonso …  Tsu’tey
Wes Studi …  Eytukan
CCH Pounder …  Moat
Dileep Rao …  Dr. Max Patel
Matt Gerald …  Corporal Lyle Wainfleet
Sean Anthony Moran …  Private Fike
Jason Whyte …  Cryo Vault Med Tech
Scott Lawrence …  Venture Star Crew Chief

Synopsis from IMDb: When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.

2009 – 20th Century Fox – PG-13 – 162 min 

VS 1.9 pointed ears
I did not get to see this in the theater.  We just finished watching the movie on video last night.  My soul complaints with this movie are the over-handed “Humans are money-grubbing @$$holes who care nothing for the enviroment” message and the fact that this film was OBVIOUSLY (even in the 2D format) made for 3D.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sore than Cameron took advantage of cutting technology to film this movie.  I’m sore that I DIDN’T get to see it in all it’s 3D splendor.

The film is beautifully crafted and truly deserves all the praise and accolades lavished upon it.  However, I am getting sick and tired of the “Humans are evil anti-nature @$$holes” plots that Hollywood seems to be shoveling out.  The whole notion is becoming trite and clichéd.  I’ve heard it said that there is no religion in Hollywood.  I believe that the “Green Movement” is as close as I’ve seen Hollywood come to fully embracing a religious fervor.

Once you get past Cameron’s religious fervor, this is a really nice film.

Pvt Black Spartan: 1.9 pointed ears
James Cameron delivers a very beautiful film.  I like the fact that flora and fauna of Pandora were truly alien.  This movie absolutely rocked in 3D (sorry Daddy I got to see it in 3D and you didn’t).  The planet-wide “computer” network was a cool idea as well.

PIT #2: 1.25 pointed ears
I don’t get what all the hype is about.  This was an OK movie.  James Cameron is not God and his movies do not shine with a heavenly glow (regardless of the hype).

To me this was high-budget commercial for Green Peace.  Humans have wrecked their enviroment and are now wrecking another *yawn*.  Someone wake me when there’s something else on.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
Blue people who are ten foot tall are awesome.  I want to be a Na’vi in our next D&D game.  The military battles are great.  I want one of those cool helicopters for “Top Secret”

7.05 pointed ears out of 8

This is not a good movie for younger viewers.  The intensity of the battle sequences and on-screen deaths of some children may be a little traumatic.

Only the youngest seemed to let the heavy-handed environmentalist sermon go by without a mention.

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May 28, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies, Science Fiction | , , , , | 1 Comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Iron Man 2

Starring:
Robert Downey Jr. …  Tony Stark
Don Cheadle …  Lt. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes / War Machine
Scarlett Johansson …  Natalie Rushman / Natasha Romanoff
Gwyneth Paltrow …  Pepper Potts
Sam Rockwell …  Justin Hammer
Mickey Rourke …  Ivan Vanko
Samuel L. Jackson …  Nick Fury
Clark Gregg …  Agent Coulson
John Slattery …  Howard Stark
Jon Favreau …  Happy Hogan
Paul Bettany …  Jarvis (voice)
Kate Mara …  U.S. Marshal
Leslie Bibb …  Christine Everhart
Garry Shandling …  Senator Stern

Plot synopsis from IMDb: With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts, and James “Rhodey” Rhodes at his side, must forge new alliances – and confront powerful enemies.

2010 – Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios – PG-13 – 124 min

VS: 1.8 pointed ears
This is one of the exceptions to the Hollywood rule that sequels suck and are usually nowhere near as good as the original.  I think that Marvel keeping the rights to the Avengers franchise is probably one of the smarter moves to come out of Hollywood in quite some time.  Keeping Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury was another good idea as well.

Why not a full two ears? I think the whole drunken Iron Man scene was a tad bit overdone.  I’m not a hard-core Iron Man fan and I’ve only been following the Marvel mainstream Avengers since Spidey joined.  So I cannot comment whether the writers followed cannon or not.  I’ve never seen Tony Stark as a drunken idiot.  Yes I know Stark has a drinking problem but endangering the lives of guests in his home?

The shot at the end of the movie has got me salivating for next year’s “Thor”

Pvt Black Spartan: 1.9 pointed ears 
This movie picked up right were the last one left off.  I didn’t rely too much on the previous movie either.  Props to the writers and director for not putting too much “flashback” into the script.  Samuel L. Jackson has the character of Nick Fury locked.

PIT #2: 2 pointed ears
This movie was awesome.  War Machine rocked even though the role of Rhodey was recast.  I found no faults with this movie at all.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
Taking Daddy to see this on his birthday was a treat.  I like how the movie looks inside Tony’s head.  I mean I like how Tony has problems and then he fights to m things better.  I also liked the fact that there was no kissing in this movie (editor’s note: we did have to take a bathroom break so we may have missed that scene if there was one).

The drones rocked.

7.7 pointed ears out of 8.  This is a worthy successor to the first.  Marvel’s plan of a MEGA-franchise seems to be playing out very well.  IM2 has set a relatively high bar for next year’s Thor and Captain America.  My only worry at this point is that each succeeding director will attempt to “Top” Iron Man and leave the bar wa-a-y to high for 2012’s Avengers movie.

May 24, 2010 Posted by | Marvel, Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Maximum Overdrive

Starring:
Emilio Estevez …  Bill Robinson
Pat Hingle …  Hendershot
Laura Harrington …  Brett
Yeardley Smith …  Connie
John Short …  Curtis
Ellen McElduff …  Wanda June
J.C. Quinn …  Duncan Keller
Christopher Murney …  Camp Loman
Holter Graham …  Deke Keller
Frankie Faison …  Handy
Pat Miller …  Joe
Jack Canon …  Max
Barry Bell …  Steve Gayton
John Brasington …  Frank
J. Don Ferguson …  Andy

97 mins * 1986 * De Laurentiis Entertainment Group * Rated R for violence a gratuitous use of the F*bomb and other language.

Synopsis from IMDb: When the tail of rogue comet Rhea-M passes through Earth’s atmosphere, humanity’s worst nightmares come to life as machines gradually develop minds of their own, turning on their creators in bloody rebellion. At the Dixie Boy truck stop just outside Wilmington, North Carolina, both workers and patrons alike are coming to grips with the horror as a series of increasingly bizarre accidents occur, some injurious, some near-fatal, and some fatal. The terror finally comes to a head when the parked trucks – led by one for a toy company which sports a demonically-smiling goblin face – each start-up on their own, circling the truck stop and preventing anyone from getting in or out. Trapped by the trucks and an emotionless manager (Pat Hingle), a young ex-con (Emilio Estevez) takes it upon himself to lead the rescue of anyone in the immediate vicinity whose life is in danger, and to ultimately escape the truck stop and head to safety. Unfortunately, things become more complicated when a machine-gun-mounted mobile platform orders each of the humans to pump gasoline for the trucks. Pitted against an army of machines demonized by an unknown phenomenon, the people trapped in the Dixie Boy truck stop must use stealth and a concealed arsenal to escape. In the meantime, they realize that there is more to the tail of Rhea-M than they initially thought.

VS: 1.4 pointed ears.
The short story “Trucks” written by Stephen King is the inspiration for this movie.  According to numerous sources Stephen King was dissatisfied with other adaptations of his novels and short stories.  He decided that he was going to this adaptation “right” and therefore do it himself.  I’ve read the short story and I actually prefer the short story over the movie.  This is not to say this is a bad adaptation.  King faithfully adapts his short story (within budgetary allowances).  That is the problem with this flick.  King filmed every scene in the story, scenes the could’ve been shortened or eliminated entirely were left in.  King seemed to be unaware of the differences in the two mediums.  While this was a decent (aside from the language which was unnecessary) film, it could’ve been a great film in the hands of an experienced director.

My other problem with this flick was with both the story and film.  How long do these trucks continue to circle the truck stop before the humans are forced to start pumping gas?

P.I.T. #2 – 1.5 pointed ears
This was a decent flick.  However, what was the criteria for a machine to come to life?  The newlywed’s car never came to life.  There were plot holes in this movie were enough to distract me momentarily.  However if you can overlook the plot holes you should find this an enjoyable enough movie.

P.I.T. #3 – 1.9 pointed ears
There was plenty of death and destruction.  The machines come to life, what could be cooler?  No kissing, and destruction make this a good movie (editor’s note I keep waiting for him to outgrow this aversion to kissing but at the same time, I’m glad he’s not girl-crazy).  However, I can’t help but wonder why not all the machines came to life.  I also want to know what kind of gas mileage the ‘intelligent’ trucks get.

4.8 pointed ears out of 6
Bloody but not gory.  The biggest problem with this movie was the language.  If repeated use of the F*bomb is offensive to you, leave this one on the shelf.  The plot holes were picked up on by all thee of us without discussion during the movie, meaning I didn’t point it out during the film but the boys picked up on it any way (I’m so proud).  In fact that all three of us picked up on the plot holes have inspired another post on this movie, Errors and goofs we found.

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: 300

Starring:

Gerard Butler …  King Leonidas
Lena Headey …  Queen Gorgo
Dominic West …  Theron
David Wenham …  Dilios
Vincent Regan …  Captain
Michael Fassbender …  Stelios
Tom Wisdom …  Astinos
Andrew Pleavin …  Daxos
Andrew Tiernan …  Ephialtes
Rodrigo Santoro …  Xerxes
Giovani Cimmino …  Pleistarchos
Stephen McHattie …  Loyalist
Greg Kramer …  Ephor #1
Alex Ivanovici …  Ephor #2
Kelly Craig …  Oracle Girl

2006 * Warner Bros. * 117 min * R for violent battle scenes some sexuality and nudity

Synopsis from IMDb:  In 480 BC, the Persian king Xerxes sends his massive army to conquer Greece. The Greek city of Sparta houses its finest warriors, and 300 of these soldiers are chosen to meet the Persians at Thermopylae, engaging the soldiers in a narrow canyon where they cannot take full advantage of their numbers. The battle is a suicide mission, meant to buy time for the rest of the Greek forces to prepare for the invasion. However, that doesn’t stop the Spartans from throwing their hearts into the fray, determined to take as many Persians as possible with them.

VS: 1.75 pointed ears.
This movie is filled with violence and as such I do not recommend this for impressionable viewers.  Only you as a parent can determine what is and is not appropriate for your child.  That said, the violence has its place in this film.  This is not a documentary though the broad historical event is authentic.  The violence is stylized and although in your face it is not gratuitous.

The political intrigue portion of the movie seemed to drag at times.  I kinda wish that Mr. Snyder hadn’t been quite so faithful in his adaptation and either dropped the “meanwhile back at the ranch” scenes or expanded on them.

Zach Snyder made a very faithful adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel.  It was this movie that convinced the brass at Warner Bros.to let Zach helm Watchmen.  His direction on this film fit the style of the movie.  I’m not a big fan of violence for violence sake, but here it seemed appropriate.

P.I.T. #2 – 1.5 pointed ears
The fact that Hollywood made a movie about the march of the 300 Spartans was cool.  However the amount of nudity could’ve been toned down.  The violence was a little more than I like but appropriate for what was being portrayed.

P.I.T. #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This is a very good movie.  There are lots of nice action.  There’s also some kissing and female nudity which I don’t like in a movie.

Overall 5.05 pointed ears out 6.  This is definitely a violent movie.  Only you can determine the appropriate level suitable for viewing in your household.  Beautifully shot, faithfully adapted, and artfully done.  Recommended with reservations.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

George Clooney …  Lyn Cassady
Ewan McGregor …  Bob Wilton
Jeff Bridges …  Bill Django
Kevin Spacey …  Larry Hooper
Stephen Lang …  Brig. General Dean Hopgood
Robert Patrick …  Todd Nixon
Waleed Zuaiter …  Mahmud Daash
Stephen Root …  Gus Lacey
Glenn Morshower …  Major Holtz
Nick Offerman …  Scotty Mercer
Tim Griffin …  Tim Kootz
Rebecca Mader …  Debora Wilton

Synopsis from IMDb: A reporter, trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails, gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. The founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends.

Overature Films – 94 mins – R for Language, minor drug use and minor nudity.

VS – 1.5 pointed ears.
Based on actual military unit.  I’m not sure how much credence to the ideas behind the unit.  The language is rough at times but not in your face.  The nudity is not gratuitous and the drug use is almost inconsequential.  The humor is subtle but definitely geared to adults, for example the irony of Ewan McGregor’s character asking George Clooney’s character what a Jedi is.  There is a story here but you have to be paying attention.

PIT #2 – 1 pointed ear.
This movie was kinda wierd.  I wasn’t sure what the story behind, in front of or anywhere through this movie was supposed to be.  This movie was funny in places.  It’s not the gut-buster it was advertised to be.  The R-Rating seems to be for excessive use of the F*bomb.  The movie didn’t make sense but in a good way.

PIT #3 – .2 pointed ears
This was a stupid movie.  It wasn’t funny.  If this was a comedy it doesn’t make sense to kids.

2.7 pointed ears out 6
This movie is not for the younger children but only because the story structure and humor are geared towards the adult mind.   Recommended for adult viewing at least once.  Rent this one, don’t waste your money on a purchase

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family movie review: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Starring:
Ben Barnes …  Prince Caspian
Georgie Henley …  Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes …  Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley …  Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell …  Susan Pevensie
Sergio Castellitto …  Miraz
Peter Dinklage …  Trumpkin
Warwick Davis …  Nikabrik
Vincent Grass …  Doctor Cornelius
Pierfrancesco Favino …  General Glozelle
Cornell John …  Glenstorm
Damián Alcázar …  Lord Sopespian
Alicia Borrachero …  Prunaprismia
Simón Andreu …  Lord Scythley
Predrag Bjelac …  Lord Donnon

Synopsis from IMDb: A year after their first adventure in Narnia, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are pulled back in by Susan’s magic horn. They find that hundreds of years have passed, and Narnia is now ruled by the bloodthirsty General Miraz, uncle to the true heir, Prince Caspian, now in exile. Now the children must find Caspian and help him depose Miraz…but how will they get home after it’s done?

VS: 1.75 pointed ears
The novel Prince Caspian is a shorter novel and has very little action to begin with.  The Pevensie children don’t show up in the novel until the mid-point.  The writers were faced with the unenviable task of taking a follow-up novel that didn’t deliver as much as it’s predecessor and making a movie that delivered more than it’s predecessor.  This was a nice attempt but PC didn’t engage me nearly as much as TLtWatW.  Perhaps that’s why the box office was down over Disney’s expectations.

This is a good movie and was made with the same attention to detail that TLtWatW was.  However, there’s only so much that can be done with the source material before the movie no longer resembles what it was drawn from.  Kudos to the producers.  They didn’t fail in their attempt in making a good adaptation of PC but they didn’t succeed in their goal of making a “BIGGER” picture than TLtWatW.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Mrs VS: 1.5 pointed ears
Although the spirit of the novel was present in the movie.  The castle siege scene that was added was not to my taste.  I felt the producers tried to hard to make this follow-up movie a “bigger” hit than the previous film.  The author of the novel did not write it that way.  I believe that the filmmakers strayed to far from the source material.

Pvt Black Spartan is on an FTX and will be sending us her review at a later date.

PIT #2: 1.5 pointed ears
This is a good adaptation of the novel.  The problem is this novel was not one of the better Narnia books.  I liked the one on one combat with Lod Miraz.  I am eagerly awaiting VotDT

PIT #3: 1.5 pointed ears
I liked this movie.  This was a very “talky” movie.  I understand that the producers added some action scenes to make the movie less “talky” than the novel.  I applaud them for their efforts.  I just think they didn’t go far enough in adding some action.

6.25 pointed ears out of 8
Hollywood has a tendency to think THEY know best what a movie audience wants.  This is one instance where THEY tried to hard.  The misguided notion that this movie HAD to be bigger is probably what hurt it.  Is this a bad movie? no.  Hollywood just had larger visions than what the story needed.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family movie review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Starring:
Georgie Henley …  Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes …  Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley …  Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell …  Susan Pevensie
Tilda Swinton …  White Witch
James McAvoy …  Mr. Tumnus
Jim Broadbent …  Professor Kirke
Kiran Shah …  Ginarrbrik
James Cosmo …  Father Christmas
Judy McIntosh …  Mrs. Pevensie
Elizabeth Hawthorne …  Mrs. Macready
Patrick Kake …  Oreius
Shane Rangi …  General Otmin
Brandon Cook …  Boy on Train
Cassie Cook …  Girl on Train

Synopsis from IMDb: Based on the classic novel by ‘CS Lewis’ . Four London children are sent to a professor’s country home in order for protection during World War II. There they find a magic wardrobe which leads to a mystical land called Narnia, which is being ruled by an evil witch. To defeat the witch, they must join forces with Aslan, the lion God of Narnia.

Walt Disney Pictures * 143 mins * PG * 2005

VS: 2 pointed ears
In all honesty, I had never read the Narnia books prior to seeing this film.  Because I enjoyed the movie so much, I did, after seeing this film go read the entirety of the Narnia series.  After my reading of the C.S. Lewis novels I can say that this movie is a very faithful adaptation of the novel.  The things added to the film, like the prologue, are derived from narration in the novel and are not out-of-place in the movie.  The action sequences may be a little too intense for younger viewers.  Overall a very nice tale of good triumphing over evil.

This is definitely a movie you can watch with the family.  By the same token it is a movie that adults need not “borrow” kids in order to have fun watching it.

Mrs. VS: 2 pointed ears
This motion picture followed the book very well.  I was impressed with the faithfulness shown to the setting, characters and story.  I actually will sit and watch this movie with the family when it gets pulled out.

Pvt. Black Spartan is on an FTX and will be sending us her review later.

PIT #2: 1.8 pointed ears
I loved the entire Narnia series of stories.  Most of the movies I’ve seen based off of novels do a severe injustice to the source material. Not so with TLtWatW.  I was very impressed with the overall integrity of the source material as presented on-screen.  The “movie” that plays in your head when you read a good novel was not damaged at all by the movie that Walden Media produced.  The two movies, mine and Walden’s, intertwined to the point of harmony.  A must see.

PIT #3: 1.5 pointed ears
I liked this movie.  I wish there could have been more action in this movie.  It seemed to be a very talky motion picture.  Mommy has read the Narnia stories to us.  I guess I remember more action in the stories mommy read to us.  It’s not a bad movie, it just doesn’t compare with what I always pictured in my head.

7.3 pointed ears out of 8
Highly recommended.  This family friendly film is must have for your collection.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vulcan Stev family movie review: The Incredibles

Starring:
Craig T. Nelson …  Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible
Holly Hunter …  Helen Parr / Elastigirl
Samuel L. Jackson …  Lucius Best / Frozone
Jason Lee …  Buddy Pine / Syndrome
Dominique Louis …  Bomb Voyage
Teddy Newton …  Newsreel Narrator
Jean Sincere …  Mrs. Hogenson
Eli Fucile …  Jack Jack Parr
Maeve Andrews …  Jack Jack Parr
Wallace Shawn …  Gilbert Huph
Spencer Fox …  Dashiell ‘Dash’ Parr
Lou Romano …  Bernie Kropp
Wayne Canney …  Principal
Sarah Vowell …  Violet Parr
Michael Bird …  Tony Rydinger

Walt Disney/Pixar * 115 mins * PG * 2004

Synopsis from IMDb: Fifteen years ago, superheroes walked the streets of Metroville, performing acts of great heroism and inspiring many to follow their example. But a string of lawsuits by disgruntled people they’d helped lead to political and public outcry, and the Supers were forced into retirement and government-funded anonymity. Bob Parr used to be Mr. Incredible, one of the greatest and strongest Supers; now, he lives a mundane life as a suburban insurance agent. Although his wife Helen (formerly Elastigirl) has moved on and is more concerned with raising their children Dashiell (who is super-fast and super-confident), Violet (who can turn invisible – and is super-shy) and baby Jack-Jack than battling evil, Bob still yearns for the good old days – and his chance comes when he is approached by a shadowy government organization and asked to join their numbers. But all is not as it seems, and Bob will find himself trapped by Syndrome, an embittered enemy who in his youth once idolized Mr. Incredible – and only his family will be able to save him now…

VS: 1.5 pointed ears
This is the first Pixar film to receive a PG rating.  The rating is mostly for the intense action sequences that might be a little much for an impressionable child.  Nothing really bad happens to the main characters and the deaths happen off-screen.  As an adult watching a film that is marketed to and directed at children, I appreciated the in jokes the producers placed in the movie to entertain the adults.  The other thing I liked is that the heroes are human beings with human faults.  Mr. Incredible talking to the audience, “Sometimes I just wish the Earth would stay saved,” this is something we would never expect to hear Superman or Spider-man admit out loud.

This movie is a fresh take on the superhero archetype.  I enjoy it each time I watch it.

Mrs. VS: 1.5 pointed ears
This a good family movie that adults will enjoy as well.  I’m not particularly “in to” action adventure movies, but when the family saw this in the theater and again we bought the DVD I sat and watched with my family.  This isn’t a movie tat I’d go see because I want to see it but I can sit through it without feeling lost.

Pvt Black Spartan is on an FTX her review is coming.

PIT #2: 1.2 pointed ears
Only because my younger cousin watches this movie every time he comes over.  I’m getting a little tired of watching it.  One or two viewings every couple of years or so would be fine.  The first time I watched it I was very impressed with Pixar’s take on the whole super-hero genre.  How would  public react to super heroes?  What happens to a hero when it’s more than just his own life in jeopardy?

I liked the way Pixar dealt with these questions.  I just don’t want to see the movie once a month. 

PIT #3: 1 pointed ear
This is a Disney movie.  Cartoons are for kids (editor’s note PIT #3 is 11 and therefore wa-a-ay too cool to be watching cartoons).  Mr. Incredible is a Superman wannabe who can’t fly.  Elastigirl an the rest of the superheroes are  ripoffs of characters in both Marvel and DC.  Super-villian puts the world in jeopardy and it’s up to our heroes to save the world.  Blah blah blah…  I’ve seen it all before.

5.2 pointed ears out of 8
Rated PG for intense scenes of action and comic book-style violence.  This is a nice family friendly film.

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vulcan Stev family movie review: 2012

Starring:
John Cusack …  Jackson Curtis
Amanda Peet …  Kate Curtis
Chiwetel Ejiofor …  Adrian Helmsley
Thandie Newton …  Laura Wilson
Oliver Platt …  Carl Anheuser
Thomas McCarthy …  Gordon Silberman
Woody Harrelson …  Charlie Frost
Danny Glover …  President Thomas Wilson
Liam James …  Noah Curtis
Morgan Lily …  Lilly Curtis
Zlatko Buric …  Yuri Karpov
Beatrice Rosen …  Tamara
Alexandre Haussmann …  Alec
Philippe Haussmann …  Oleg
Johann Urb …  Sasha

Summary from IMDb: Dr. Adrian Helmsley, part of a worldwide geophysical team investigating the effect on the earth of radiation from unprecedented solar storms, learns that the earth’s core is heating up. He warns U.S. President Thomas Wilson that the crust of the earth is becoming unstable and that without proper preparations for saving a fraction of the world’s population, the entire race is doomed. Meanwhile, writer Jackson Curtis stumbles on the same information. While the world’s leaders race to build “arks” to escape the impending cataclysm, Curtis struggles to find a way to save his family. Meanwhile, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of unprecedented strength wreak havoc around the world.

2009 * Columbia Pictures * PG-13 * 158 minutes

Vulcan Stev 1 pointed ear
This film has got to be filled with some of the greatest special effects I’ve ever seen.  It is not however, one of the greatest films ever.  2012 has a double meaning for this film, not only is it the year the movie takes place it also the number of disaster movies it rips off during its two and half hour run time.  If you like special effects for special effects sake and are longing to see all of your favorite disaster movies in one setting then by all means, this is a must see movie.  However, if you need a plot that actually makes or characters that you really care about, then I advise you to watch Volcano, The Day After Tomorrow, Earthquake, or The Poseidon Adventure.

Roland Emmerich has proven himself to be the quint-essential “Disaster Movie” director of our time.  However, not only did he try to shove too many disasters into this movie, his personal beliefs colored far too many scenes.  Based on this movie, I would have to guess that Mr. Emmerich is an atheist.  Every single character who takes time out for prayer or to exercise their religious beliefs (with the notable exception of a neophyte Buddhist monk) ends up dead.  In fact out of all the world’s monuments or symbols that Mr. Emmerich gleefully destroys on screen, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio gets a significant amount of screen time.  The heavy-handed message of religion can’t save you couldn’t have been more obvious unless Mr Emmerich had made it part of the title.

There are lots of nice footage of global destruction.  It does nothing to rescue this film.  My boys and I had accurately predicted all but one of the deaths.  This movie is so full of clichés that the 2012 title could be referring to that as well.

PIT #2: 1 pointed ear
As a movie it made a bit of sense.  The quote on the front of the DVD packed reads “The Best Disaster Movie Ever”.  If by “Best Disaster Movie” they mean highest body count or most destruction then yes.   If they mean it has the bt story or best characters then no.  This is not movie in the strictest sense.  It is a series of special effects strung together by a weak plot.

Danny Glover would be a better President than Barack Obama

PIT #3: .5 pointed ears
The special effects were cool.  However this movie made no sense.  I didn’t understand it all.  2012 is also the number of times I asked Daddy why we were watching this movie.

2.5 pointed ears out of 6
Was this movie a complete WOT (waste of time)? no.  Will it be replayed over and over at the V.S. house? no.  Not recommended.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vulcan Stev family movie review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Starring:
Logan Lerman …  Percy Jackson
Brandon T. Jackson …  Grover
Alexandra Daddario …  Annabeth
Jake Abel …  Luke
Sean Bean …  Zeus
Pierce Brosnan …  Mr. Brunner / Chiron
Steve Coogan …  Hades
Rosario Dawson …  Persephone
Melina Kanakaredes …  Athena
Catherine Keener …  Sally Jackson
Kevin McKidd …  Poseidon
Joe Pantoliano …  Gabe Ugliano
Uma Thurman …  Medusa
Maria Olsen …  Mrs. Dodds / Fury
Julian Richings …  Ferryman

20th Century Fox * 118 mins * PG * 2010

Synopsis from IMDb: It’s the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson’s Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they’re not happy: Zeus’ lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy’s mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy’s mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.

VS: 1.55 pointed ears
Greek mythology has always fascinated me.  When I first heard about this movie I was intrigued, however, part of me wrote it off as a Harry Potter rip-off.  I was surprised to discover that there is in fact a book series upon which this movie is based.  So it can’t be a complete riff on the Harry Potter-verse.  Let’s face it, coming of age stories are coming-of-age stories regardless of the genre or the characters which inhabit them.  Similarities are going to abound regardless.  So we’re going to skip the fact that there’s a trio of heroes (two males and one female).  We’re not going to mention the act that our protagonist knows nothing of the world that he’s going to be pulled into.  And we’re going to gloss over the fact that our hero just happens to be one of the more powerful members of his new-found group.

Aside from a brief mention of the stolen lighting bolt bringing about a war of the gods,very little of e movie is actually devoted to the title piece.  Zeus automatically assumes that Percy (Poseidon’s son) has stolen it.  So naturally every mythological bounty hunter begins attacking Percy in the hopes of recovering it for Zeus.  Doesn’t Zeus lo-jack his lightning?  Persephone allows her pearls to be tracked via the Marauder’s… er a mystical map that Luke just happens to have in his collection.  For an all-knowing god, Zeus seems to be awfully short-sighted.  But the maybe it’s a good thing that Zeus doesn’t have a magical lightning tracer considering where the dumb thing finally shows up.

Percy also seems to be blessed by Fortuna the Geek goddess of Luck.  He doesn’t get in trouble for leaving the camp and embarking on his little solo quest.  Even though he and his friends are the subject of a nationwide manhunt nobody ever seems to recognize them or call America’s Most Wanted tip line.  Nobody seems to mind that Percy and his friends destroy at least one national landmark.  It’s also probably just a coincidence that the casino left the keys in that car.

I see a lot of complaints on the net about Olympus being attached to the Empire Sate Building.  The novels make it known that Olympus attached to the mortal plane a nonlinear fashion instead being anchored to the “Center of Civilization”.  I wish the movie had explained that little feature.  I’m also seeing complaints about the actors not being the age the characters are in the novels.  Director Chris Columbus has been quoted as saying that after Harry Potter, he was NEVER going to work with that many ten-year olds again.  Given the way the Potter actors have aged beyond their characters, I’m not going to fault Mr. Columbus on that one.

If this movie has one redeeming feature.  It is in the fact that both PITs have expressed an interest in actually reading the Percy Jackson novels.  I enjoyed the movie and cannot wait for the DVD.

Pvt Black Spartan: (coming) she’s on an FTX and will get us her review later.

PIT #2: 2 pointed ears
I liked the fact that the writer was able to bring the Greek myths and legends to life in 21st century America.  By using these archetypes there wasn’t a whole passel of exposition that need to be made.  The characters were believable.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
I didn’t hear any bad language in this movie.  I liked the fact that there was ZERO kissing in the movie.  This movie had awesome special effects.  I thought it was cool that they got James Bond to play Percy’s teacher.

I was so impressed with this movie that I actually want to go read the novels that this movie is derived from.  I can’t wait for Percy Jackson 2.

5.55 pointed ears out of 6 – A nice popcorn family friendly flick.  Take the time to see it while it’s in theaters but this a definite must-see on video.  Despite my complaints I really did enjoy the movie.  I sincerely hope that 20th Century Fox has the next “Potter” series here.

March 24, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments