Vulcan Stev's Database

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Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Avatar

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.

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

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

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

Vulcan Stev famliy movie review: Live Free or Die Hard

Bruce Willis …  John McClane
Timothy Olyphant …  Thomas Gabriel
Justin Long …  Matthew ‘Matt’ Farrell
Maggie Q …  Mai Linh
Cliff Curtis …  FBI Deputy Director Miguel Bowman
Jonathan Sadowski …  Trey
Andrew Friedman …  Casper 
Kevin Smith …  Frederick ‘Warlock’ Kaludis
Yorgo Constantine …  Russo
Cyril Raffaelli …  Rand
Chris Palermo …  Del
Mary Elizabeth Winstead …  Lucy Gennero McClane
Sung Kang …  Raj 
Zeljko Ivanek …  Agent Molina
Christina Chang …  Taylor

20th Century Fox * 2007 * 128 mins * PG-13

Synopsis from IMDb: When someone hacks into the computers at the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division; the Director decides to round up all the hackers who could have done this. When he’s told that because it’s the 4th of July most of their agents are not around so they might have trouble getting people to get the hackers. So he instructs them to get local PD’S to take care of it. And one of the cops they ask is John McClane who is tasked with bringing a hacker named Farrell to the FBI. But as soon as he gets there someone starts shooting at them. McClane manages to get them out but they’re still being pursued. And it’s just when McClane arrives in Washington that the whole system breaks down and chaos ensues.

VS: 1.7 pointed ears
I’m not going to harp on the dysfunctional McClane/Genero family.  John and Holly are divorced and his kids don’t listen to him.  One again McClane is in the wrong place at the wrong time, however this time he’s on the job before things start to unravel.  This film proves that an action flick doesn’t need to have the F*bomb dropped in every scene.  The scenario is plausible, but I doubt it’s likely.  My only quibbles with this film were the indiscriminate destruction of the highway to go after the “terrorist” and the lack of ability by the pilot to take out the target.  The whole jet scene is enough in some folk’s opinions as to sink the whole movie.  I won’t say the scene was that bad, but it did manage to take me out of the movie.

PIT #2: 1.9 pointed ears
I like the Independence Day takeover of America.  It was a unique twist to not have a Die Hard movie take place at Christmas.  Again the language (ed note we watched the Director’s Cut) was a problem.  The cyber-terroism and the concept of a fire sale was right for the time.  I thought it was cool that the computer hacker was played by Justin Long as he is more famous for playing “Mac” in the “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ad campaign.

PIT #3: 1.75 pointed ears
This is definitely a Die Hard movie.  I like the notion that John McClane acknowledges that being a hero is nothing more than being “That” guy when everything hits the fan.  The downside is that most of the “terror” is simulated (ed. note: spoken like someone who constantly eats the food in the fridge and then wonders why the fridge is empty).  The other thing is that Bruce Willis is getting kind of old.  How much longer can he keep doing these movies?

5.35 pointed ears out of 6
I don’t necessarily see this franchise as having “jumped the shark”.  Some of the action sequences seemed forced as the producers tried to give us “more”.  Maybe it’s just the V.S. family, but we all acknowledged that this film left the “realism” of the previous three.  The theatrical release of this film was more friendly to families than the director’s cut on DVD.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vulcan Stev family movie review: Die Hard with a Vengence

Bruce Willis …  John McClane
Jeremy Irons …  Simon Gruber
Samuel L. Jackson …  Zeus Carver
Graham Greene …  Joe Lambert
Colleen Camp …  Connie Kowalski
Larry Bryggman …  Insp. Walter Cobb
Anthony Peck …  Ricky Walsh
Nicholas Wyman …  Mathias Targo
Sam Phillips …  Katya
Kevin Chamberlin …  Charles Weiss
Sharon Washington …  Officer Jane
Stephen Pearlman …  Dr. Fred Schiller
Michael Alexander Jackson …  Dexter
Aldis Hodge …  Raymond
Mischa Hausserman …  Mischa

1995 * 20th Century Fox * 131 mins
Rated R for language and violence

Synopsis from IMDb: John McClane is now almost a full-blown alcoholic and is suspended from the NYPD. But when a bomb goes off in the Bonwit Teller Department Store the police go insane trying to figure out what’s going on. Soon, a man named Simon calls and asks for McClane. Simon tells Inspector Walter Cobb that McClane is going to play a game called “Simon Says”. He says that McClane is going to do the tasks he assigns him. If not, he’ll blow off another bomb. With the help of a Harlem electrician, John McClane must race all over New York trying to figure out the frustrating puzzles that the crafty terrorist gives him. But when a bomb goes off in a subway station right by the Federal Reserve (the biggest gold storage in the world) things start to get heated up.

Vulcan Stev: 1.7 pointed ears
Probably my favorite of the four Die Hard films.  Yes, it still has gratuitous violence.  Yes it still drops the F*bomb, but it’s an engaging story.  The two big problems I have with this film are the once again strained relations between John and Holly and the fact that the dump trucks are woefully underpowered to be carrying the  stated amount of gold.  I understand the producers didn’t want to make a third film of John saving Holly and the only solution the director and writers can come up with is that John and Holly are having problems again.  Yup, there’s an original solution.  This couple has seen death up close and personal not once but twice.  This couple has been brought together by the events of the first two films.  Yet they’re shown as having problems which lead to their eventual divorce.  I guess John McClane has got to be a stubborn S.O.B. to throw away his marriage like that.

The Dump truck problem is glaring but it’s not necessarily a ‘what the…’ moment that completely drags you out of the film.  At least not in my case.

PIT #2: 1.9 pointed ears
The dump truck escape was one of the more ingenious escape routes I’ve seen in a motion picture.  The fact that the “terrorists” were willing to use kids as a dodge to their true objective but not really put the kids in harm’s way was also pretty cool.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
I liked this movie.  McClane isn’t such a loner in this movie.  It reminded me of the Lethal Weapon buddy movies.  I also liked the fact that John had to think in this movie.  Not everything was solved by shooting guns.

5.6 pointed ears out of 6
Aside from one scene, the blood and gore in this movie have been toned down from the predecessors.  The language is still a problem.  Kudos to the producers for the attempt at opening up the “dungeon” just a bit.  It might be a little telling about the prevalence of swearing in today’s society that my 11 year-old does not notice the swearing going on in the movie.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family movie review: Die Hard 2

Bruce Willis …  Lt. John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia …  Holly McClane
William Atherton …  Richard Thornburg
William Sadler …  Col. Stuart
Reginald VelJohnson …  Sgt. Al Powell
Franco Nero …  Gen. Ramon Esperanza
John Amos …  Maj. Grant
Dennis Franz …  Capt. Carmine Lorenzo
Art Evans …  Leslie Barnes
Fred Dalton Thompson …  Trudeau
Tom Bower …  Marvin
Sheila McCarthy …  Samantha ‘Sam’ Coleman
Don Harvey …  Garber
Tony Ganios …  Baker
Peter Nelson …  Thompson

Plot synopsis from IMDb: Once again, New York cop John McClane is in the wrong place at the wrong time – this time he’s waiting for his wife’s plane to arrive at Washington’s Dulles Airport when he uncovers a plot to sabotage the airport’s landing system. The criminals wish to free a drug baron being extradited to America for trial by holding the airport to ransom until they all safely escape on another plane. However, if they’d known that Holly McClane was on a flight home to the very airport they were hijacking, they would have picked another day.

1990 * 20th Century Fox * 124 mins
Rated R for violence and language

Vulcan Stev: 1.6 pointed ears

Unlike most sequels which give you more of the same, this sequel actually feels like a continuation of the previous film.  The McClanes have reconciled.  John has moved to L.A. and is waiting for his wife to come to DC to spend Christmas with the extended family.  In that sense the movie is a decent sequel.  Yes this movie still suffers from an excess of language (what is Hollywood’s obsession with the F*bomb?), yes the violence is overdone in some scenes.  However it manages to give us everything we like in the first movie without being a re-hash.  My BIGGEST problem with this film is the notion that an elite strike team of America’s military is willing to sell out their country for drug money.

This film continues the premise of someone being disingenuous about their objectives.  In the other three films of the franchise it’s the “terrorists” who aren’t completely honest about what they want.  In this movie it’s the military that is portrayed as something other than what they claim to be.   I’m not sure how the movie could have been written without using the military as the traitors, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

PIT #2: 1.5 pointed ears
The plot device of telling McClane to stay out of it and McClane not listening to anyone all to save his wife was very inspiring to me.  To me this version of the John/Holly relationship is what should’ve continued through the series.  The  language and blood could’ve been toned down as well.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
It was pretty cool that McClane was the only one who accomplished anything even though nobody wanted  him to help.  The terrorists really thought about the whole situation.  Too often in the movies the villains are pretty stupid.  I thought it was pretty unique idea that the army unit was in league with the terrorists.

5.1 pointed ears out of 6
The violence and language take what is a nice story of a man doing EVERYTHING he can to save the woman he loves, and bring it down a notch.  Just because blood spatters during a real gunfight doesn’t mean we need to see it in every scene.  Again not a family movie.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family movie review: Die Hard

Bruce Willis …  Officer John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia …  Holly Gennaro McClane
Reginald VelJohnson …  Sgt. Al Powell
Paul Gleason …  Dep. Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
De’voreaux White …  Argyle
William Atherton …  Richard Thornburg
Hart Bochner …  Harry Ellis
James Shigeta …  Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Alan Rickman …  Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov …  Karl
Bruno Doyon …  Franco
Andreas Wisniewski …  Tony
Clarence Gilyard Jr. …  Theo
Joey Plewa …  Alexander
Lorenzo Caccialanza …  Marco

1988 * 20th Century Fox * 131 mins
Rated R for violence and language

Plot synopsis from IMDb: Tough New York cop John McClane finds himself in a tight situation when an office building in Los Angeles is taken over by terrorists. Apart from himself, everyone else in the building – including his wife – is held at gunpoint while their captors spell out their demands. The F.B.I. are called in to survey the situation, but John McClane has other plans for the terrorists…

Vulcan Stev: 1.6 out of 2 pointed ears.

The film that made Bruce Willis a movie star, this is one of the first “violent” films I actually went to see in the theater.  I’ll admit to having a squeamish side (needles creep me out more than snakes do Indiana Jones), I don’t like the sight of blood and this movie has quite a bit.  Definitely a movie of its time period, the story still holds up and with a few minor rewrites the story could be told again today.  The violence is not overly gratuitous but it can be excessive.  The language on the other hand is a little too gratuitous, F-bombs abound.   The whole “terrorism is a front for massive theft” plot, although unique at the time, has been done to death (no pun intended) and in today’s political climate doesn’t seem quite as entertaining.

PIT #2:  1.2 pointed ears
Even though this is the first movie of the franchise, it is the last one that I saw (darn little brother watching movies on his day off from school when I’m not home).  The language was a little too gratuitous for my tastes.  The action seemed minor compared with what comes later.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
This was a cool movie.  I liked the fact that nobody believed him about the terrorists until they were getting shot at themselves.  McClane’s antagonism of the terrorists was also very cool.  I also like the fact that McClane is not above talking to himself.

4.8 pointed ears out 6
This is not a family friendly movie.  Language and violence are pervasive throughout.  The violence can be needlessly gory at times as well.  Older teens should have no problem with this flick but only you can determine what is appropriate for your family.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Night at the Museum 2

Ben Stiller …  Larry Daley
Amy Adams …  Amelia Earhart
Owen Wilson …  Jedediah Smith
Hank Azaria …  Kahmunrah / The Thinker /
                                    & Abe Lincoln
Robin Williams …  Teddy Roosevelt
Christopher Guest …  Ivan the Terrible
Alain Chabat …  Napoleon Bonaparte
Steve Coogan …  Octavius
Ricky Gervais …  Dr. McPhee
Bill Hader …  General George Armstrong Custer
Jon Bernthal …  Al Capone
Patrick Gallagher …  Attila the Hun
Jake Cherry …  Nicky Daley
Rami Malek …  Ahkmenrah
Mizuo Peck …  Sacajawea

Synopsis from IMDb: When the Museum of Natural History is closed for upgrades and renovations, the museum pieces are moved into federal storage at the famous Washington Museums. The centerpiece of the film will be bringing to life the Smithsonian Institution, which houses the world’s largest museum complex with more than 136 million items in its collections, ranging from the plane Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) flew on her non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic and Al Capone’s (Jon Bernthal) rap sheet and mug shot to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Fonzie’s jacket from Happy Days, the still from M*A*S*H and Archie Bunker’s lounge chair from All in the Family. After stealing a security guard’s ID badge, Larry (Ben Stiller) slips into the Archives of the Smithsonian, where Kahmunrah, an evil Pharaoh will come to life with the reestablishing of a tablet as a magical force in the museum bringing the old exhibits (Such as Theodore Roosevelt and Dexter) and new exhibits (like General Custer and Al Capone) back to life, and in conflict with each other. Larry enlists the help of Amelia Earheart, who he develops a romantic interest in, and together they try to put everything back in order.

Reviewers: VS, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.75 pointed ears
Let’s face it this is NOT great cinema.  It’s a sequel to a mildly successful film.  For fans of the original you’re expecting more of the same thing that you got in the original.  That said, this film manages to avoid sequelitis.  It gives us more of the same thing while managing to avoid using the original film as a crutch.  The first film dealt with Larry the Night Guard (Ben Stiller) coping with the fact that his job entailed policing the exhibits that come to life each night in his museum.

This film manages to move the whole premise to the Smithsonian without a lot of juxtaposition and hoop jumping.  This time around Larry copes very well with the living exhibits while trying to save Earth from being taken over by Ahkmenrah’s evil brother.  Lots of fun moments in this film that had the whole theater laughing.

My only gripes with the movie were first, the underuse of the original characters.  Aside from Larry, Jedediah and Octavius, the rest of the orginal cast have what amounts to an extended cameo.  Second was the Darth Vader cameo.  The producers went to great lengths to get Carrol Spinney to Oscar the Grouch, they couldn’t get James Earl Jones to do Vader’s voice?  Third, General Custer replacing Teddy Roosvelt as the historical guide/leader? puh-leez

PIT #2 – 1.99 pointed ears
This movie took a whole lot of time to get up to speed.  It’s like they tried to start the movie out in fourth gear.  They did manage to give us more of the same stuff as we got the first film but without being repetitive.

PIT #3 – 1.9 pointed ears
This movie was replete in awesomeness.  Look up Awesome in the dictionary and you’ll find this movie.  However there’s a BIG asterisk by this movie.  Amelia Earhart didn’t need to go kissing Larry.

5.64 out 6 pointed ears
This is a family friendly movie, fans of the original will not be disappointed.  Newcomers to the NatM franchise don’t need a primer in “What happened previously”.


June 20, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace

Liam Neeson …  Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor …  Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman …  Queen Padmé Amidala
Jake Lloyd …  Anakin Skywalker
Pernilla August …  Shmi Skywalker
Frank Oz …  Yoda (voice)
Ian McDiarmid …  Senator Palpatine
Oliver Ford Davies …  Gov. Sio Bibble
Ray Park …  Darth Maul
Hugh Quarshie …  Capt. Panaka
Ahmed Best …  Jar Jar Binks (voice)
Anthony Daniels …  C-3PO
Kenny Baker …  R2-D2
Terence Stamp …  Supreme Chancellor Valorum
Brian Blessed …  Boss Nass

Synopsis from IMDb:
The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray (Carson) is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi’s Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedis escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks (Best) head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala (Portman), but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker (Lloyd). Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the sith really extinct? Is the Queen who she really says she is? and what’s so special about this young boy? All these questions and more in the first chapter of the epic Star Wars.

Reviewers VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS: 1.75 pointed ears
I don’t understand the hate bestowed on this movie by supposed fans.  Yes, Jar-Jar was annoying.  Yes, the acting was wooden and yes, George Lucas proves once again that his skills lie in story telling and not in directing.  Watching this movie again I was struck by the fact that the CGI characters are more “animated” than the actors.  Check out Sebulba’s introductory scene and the cut-scenes of Qui Gon’s party  during the pod race.  Sebulba is all over the place and his humanoid dining companions just sit there.  Jar Jar is moving all over the booth while the humans sit there motionless.

The more obvious points of Lucas the story-teller are when we’re told that Obi Wan is headstrong instead of shown.  Being told about the suffering on Nayboo instead of being shown the suffering.  The movie has lots of “Wow!” moments.  However “wow” moments do not make a movie continuable watchable.  That said, this is still a fun family friendly flick and is not deserving of the “hate”.

PIT #1 – 1.75 pointed ears
Die Jar Jar die (this review was tweeted in and that is the sum total of the review)

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
This was a very nice start to the saga.  I like looking for the subtle hints and foreshadowing that Lucas interspersed throughout.  I’ve been playing Lego Star Wars with PIT #3.  Some of the scenes make a heck of lot more sense now that I’ve refreshed my memory on the movie.  Pod racing is harder than it looks.

PIT #3 – 1.9 pointed ears
This is my introduction to the Star Wars.  I don’t remember watching the other Star Wars movies until after I’d seen this one.  Qui Gonn Jinn is my all time favorite Jedi.  It was a shame that he had to die.

Overall 7.4 out of 8
As far as prequels go I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse.  This movie could’ve been a heckuva lot better with some editing or if it had been cut to about 45 minutes and combined with II.  Thank you Lord that Abrams didn’t follow Lucas’ formula with the Trek reboot.

If you’re the type that buys DVDs you probably already own this one.  If this is your first exposure to Star Wars, don’t judge the rest of the saga by this opening round.

June 6, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Hugh Jackman …  Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber …  Victor Creed
Danny Huston …  William Stryker
Will i Am …  John Wraith
Lynn Collins …  Kayla Silverfox
Kevin Durand …  Fred Dukes
Dominic Monaghan …  Bradley
Taylor Kitsch …  Remy LeBeau / Gambit
Daniel Henney …  David North / Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds …  Wade Wilson
Scott Adkins …  Weapon XI
Tim Pocock …  Scott Summers
Julia Blake …  Heather Hudson
Max Cullen …  Travis Hudson
Troye Sivan …  Young James Howlett

Synopsis by VS:
This is the origin story of Wolverine as interpreted by David Benioff and Skip Woods, the writers.  Many of the established facts from Marvel’s convuluted backstory of the character are incorporated into this movie.  As the story progresses the audience is treated to  revelations of Logan’s powers, training, and how he got his indestructible skeleton.

Reviewers: VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.5 pointed ears
I’m being a little more harsh than the kids.  Yes we are treated to Wolverine’s origin story.  The character’s backstory as revealed in the comics is convoluted at best and I’m not going to fault the writers for picking and choosing the elements they want to use.  I’ve seen complaints online about the use of Professor X and Cyclops in a Wolverine origin as neither of those characters seems to know anything about Wolverine in the first movie.  This is handled fairly well in my opinion as Wolverine does not directly interact with either character during the course of the film.

I’m not going to rail against the bending of the laws of physics this film inflicts as it is a COMIC BOOK adaptation.  I can view the movie for what it is.  My main problem with the film is that story focuses too much on style and not enough on substance.  This is an origin film I want to know WHY the character is who he is. 

The other reason I have for lowering my rating is the fact that this film is inconsistant with the previous three.  In the first movie, Wolverine’s claws are revealed to be mechanical (look at the X-Ray) and completely metallic (Magneto would not have been able to bend bone).   Yes, I know that Logan’s claws are bone and are part of his natural mutation in the comics but let’s try to stay consistant with what has been established for the film universe.  Sabertooth, if he is Wolverine’s brother does not seem to care to much about their meeting in the first movie.  You’d think that Sabertooth would’ve shown more interest in Wolverine in the previos movies if the relationship is as described in Origins.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
It was interesting to finally see Wolverine’s background.  Things that have hinted at in the other X-Men films are revealed in this movie.  I liked the fact that the memory loss is attributed to something other than a technological brainwash.  I also enjoyed the fact that Wolverine’s past was revealed to be part of the larger Marvel film universe and not an isolated character that just runs into these folks in the first movie.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
It was very nice that the writers tied Wolverine’s backstory into the larger picture.  The helicopter destruction sequence was very  nice.  Nothing in this movie detracted from an enjoyable filmgoing experience.

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This was a very good movie.  I didn’t like the fact that Logan lost his  memories.  Yes, I know that it’s part of the character.  Daddy has explained it to me so many times.  That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like it.

Overall 7.3 out of 8 pointed ears.
Nice summer popcorn flick.  This can be watched without needing to see the first three X-Men movies.  This film has received far too much bashing from fans.  It isn’t as bad as the pundits make it out to be.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: The Transporter

Jason Statham …  Frank Martin
Qi Shu …  Lai (as Shu Qi)
Matt Schulze …  Wall Street
François Berléand …  Inspector Tarconi
Ric Young …  Mr. Kwai
Doug Rand …  Leader
Didier Saint Melin …  Boss
Tonio Descanvelle …  Thug 1
Laurent Desponds …  Thug 2
Matthieu Albertini …  Thug 3
Vincent Nemeth …  Pilot
Jean-Yves Bilien …  Little Thug
Jean-Marie Paris …  Giant Thug
Adrian Dearnell …  Newscaster
Alfred Lot …  Cop 1

Synopsis from IMDB: Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin lives what seems to be a quiet life along the French Mediterranean, hiring himself out as a mercenary “transporter” who moves goods–human or otherwise–from one place to another. No questions asked. Carrying out mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks in his tricked-out BMW, Frank adheres to a strict set of rules, which he never breaks. Rule One: Never change the deal. Rule Two: No names–Frank doesn’t want to know whom he’s working for, or what he’s transporting. Rule Three: never look in the package. Frank’s newest transport seems no different from the countless ones he’s done in the past. He’s been hired by an American known only as “Wall Street” to make a delivery; but when Frank stops along the route, he notices his package is moving. Violating Rule Three, Frank looks inside the bag, finding its contents to be a beautiful, gagged woman. Frank’s steadfast adherence to his other two rules–which make up his basic code of survival–also quickly fails, hurtling him and his new companion on a road leading to shocking secrets, deadly complications, and the last thing that Frank ever expected to come to believe: that rules are made to be broken.

Reveiwers: VS, Mrs. VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.75 pointed ears
This was the first Jason Statham movie I ever saw.  He’s got the makings of being the Steven Segal or Jean-Claude Van Damme for the 21st century.  The action scenes were believable and did not feel shoehorned into the movie.  The trope of the protagonist having a code of ethics and then being thrown into conflict with his own rules has been done before and since (see our scathing review of Bangkok Dangerous).  However, Frank does not throw his rules out the window and even comments that breaking his rule was a bad idea.  He is given a logical reason for violating Rule #3, curiosity.

Mrs. VS – 1 pointed ear
Not a bad movie as far as “hubby movies” go. [editor’s note: A hubby movie is classed as anything with action and car chases and one that Mrs. VS would NOT go see on her own].  Yes there was some violence and sensuality but both were subdued.  The love scene was not gratuitous.  The fist-fights and gunplay are pretty standard for this type of film but were not excessive.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
An interesting story.  I really like the concept of a driver for hire who’ll do any job without questions as long as you keep to the deal.  The violence was at an acceptable level.

PIT #2 – 1.9 pointed ears
Overall a good story but it jumped around too much for my tastes.  I don’t think the writer adequately explained why a simple transporter would suddenly take up the cause of his former cargo. 

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This movie had kissing and implied sex.  Having icky stuff like that in a movie is a complete waste of screen time in an otherwise good action movie.

Overall 8.45 pointed ears out of 10.
Rentable, definitely worth watching if you like Action Adventure.  If you’re a Jason Statham fan then it’s a must own.  A nice adult-themed film without needing to be viewed after the kids go to bed.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments