Movie Review : Lone Survivor

 

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Based on a true story, 4 US Navy Seals, Marcus Luttrell (Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Hirsch) and Matt ‘Axe ‘ Axelson (Foster) are sent on a mission to kill a top Taliban leader who is responsible for the deaths of many American soldiers/marines. The 4 are highly trained soldiers who are quietly confident of their abilities without the usual swaggering cockiness.

As the title suggests, things do not go smoothly. The 4 are trapped in a gorge behind enemy lines with no communications to the outside world. As they try to move up to higher ground to enable the re-establishment of communication, they come under heavy fire. The gun battle that ensues is all too realistic and in unfamiliar terrain with no backup, there is little hope for these brave men.

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Battleship [M]

 

Director : Peter Berg
Starring : Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Jesse Plemons, Tadanobu Asano
Running Time : 118 minutes
Release Date : In Cinemas Now

‘ The battle for Earth begins at sea ‘

Based very, veeeeery loosely on the Hasbro board game Battleship, this movie tells of a battle between the Navy and aliens. Yep aliens. Reptile eyed aliens. Oh be still my little conspiracy theory loving, tin hat wearing heart. You be quiet now, you hear!!

The movie begins with Tim Riggins and Sgt. Brad ‘Iceman’ Colbert drinking in a bar. Iceman is telling Riggins what to do. Iceman is a gorgeous, focused military man and Riggins is his useless but handsome loser brother. Oh wait…that’s not right. Riggins and Iceman are characters from TV shows. Riggins is Kitsch’s character in Friday Night Lights and Iceman is Skarsgard’s character in Generation Kill. Both excellent TV shows by the way. But I think you get my point.

Anyway, back to Battleship…..

Alex Hopper (Kitsch) and his brother Stone (Skarsgard) are drinking in a bar. Stone is telling Alex what a screw up he is. Alex spots the gorgeous Sam (Decker) and sets out to impress her. It ends with Alex being stuck on the zapping end of a stun gun. Think Hangover Vegas scene just not quite as funny.

At the same time, NASA is about to launch a signal into space. These signal towers are on one of the Hawaiian Islands. You see, they have discovered a planet very similar to Earth, engagingly named Planet G and they want to send out communication. A pulse is sent every 24 hours to Planet G. The initial signal is sent with great fanfare and lots of media coverage. Some scientists are not convinced this is a good idea though.

Flash forward 6 or so years and both Hopper brothers are in the Navy, Alex and Sam are madly in love and Alex is working up the courage to ask Sam’s father, Admiral Shane (Neeson) for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The US Navy is hosting some Naval War games in Hawaii. We are treated to a not-so-friendly-friendly soccer game between the US and Japan where we are introduced to a few more characters, most notably Raikes (Rihanna) and Nagata (Asano). It sets the tone for the first part of the movie. Serious rivalry between the 2 country’s Navys. I won’t delve too deeply into the political undertones here because, to be honest, I’m just not sure if it was delved into by the writers. Maybe superficially but apart from that, not sure.

The participating countries are officially welcomed on board the USS Missouri. Yep, that USS Missouri and we see some original Pearl Harbour Veterans. I want to stray here and note that these are indeed real Pearl Harbour veterans. I wasn’t sure when I watched the movie but yes, they are indeed the real deal. If I say anymore, I will have to include a spoiler alert so that’s it for me on the veterans.

So the war games begin and these great big boats sail off into the ocean and prepare to engage in real time training exercises. Simultaneously, back at NASA, something is heading towards earth. 5 objects, in formation, are tracked as they hurtle across the skies and finally crash into Earth. 4 hit the ocean but one strays onto land and hits Hong Kong causing much damage and wreaking havoc.

Ironically, they land near where the naval war games are being held and the naval vessels are sent in to investigate. The investigating team manage to trigger the alien vessels and they start their attack on Earth. A force field is activated around the area so just one sole naval ship is left to fight the alien invasion.

Some aliens have made their way onto land and head straight for the transmission towers. So we have some alien ships/aircraft in the ocean, trapped within a force field with a solo naval vessel…..and we have some more aliens making their way to the transmission towers.

Okay…..

This movie is great fun. First of all it has lots and lots of gorgeous cast members. Pretty, pretty everywhere. Some of these pretty people can act, some of them cannot. Some are wonderful, some are cringe worthy. Let’s leave it at that.

But I will single out Rihanna, if only because I went into this movie expecting her to be terrible. She was not terrible at all. She is actually the stand out actor, staying true to herself but having some fun with her character. Girl can act! And when she is stripped down, she is a very beautiful young lady. It’s a shame she can’t just keep it natural all the time.

Battleship has lots of great special effects. I loved the alien craft. I loved their guns and how they attacked. I really loved the spinning metal cutting things and want to order one. So if anyone has a link……

The aliens themselves were odd. They were basically humanoid but with some kinda gross differences. But they didn’t come in peace so it’s okay they were so ugly. Not so ugly you couldn’t look but ugly enough. They were also dumb. You can travel across the universe and still not……..oops spoiler alert. Sorry!!!

The tin hatter in me was disappointed I must say. This was marketed as an alien movie so I wanted better aliens!!!

The movie was good. I did like it and think anyone who likes alien or Transformer stuff should go see it. Most alien type movies are pretty hit and miss anyway so you either love them or hate them. Unless it the Alien franchise which is in a class of it’s own. Or Star Wars. Okay, okay, I will stop now.

If you have a crush on Eric Northman, you should absolutely go. He is in a fair chunk of the movie so that alone is worth the $15. Liam Neeson is only in it for a few minutes. Boooo I say boooooooo.

I have been looking forward to this movie for ages and you know what…. it was just what I expected. Sometimes you just want to be entertained. You don’t want to think too deeply, you don’t need to ask the serious questions. You just want to see some hot men run around in uniforms and fight aliens. And that is exactly what you get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpoabtbEJOI

John Carter [M]

 

Director: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Ciaran Hands, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston
Running Time: 132 minutes
Release Date: March 8

‘Lost in our world. Found in another’

I have so much to say about this movie but I guess I should start with what or who is John Carter.

John Carter (Kitsch) is an American Civil War soldier who is transported to Mars. He first encounters the green skinned warlike nomads known as the Tharks and, due to his superhuman powers (Mars gravity and all that), quickly becomes embroiled in not only the political issues of the Tharks, but those of the red skinned, humanoid Martians as well.

The humanoids control Mars through a series of city states with Zodanga annihilating everything in it’s path. Helium is the last free state. Helium also has a beautiful and feisty Princess (Collins). A political marriage to save everyone has been arranged. Then she meets our handsome hero….yep you guessed it. The two fall in love and are now fighting for not just what they love and believe in but who they love and believe in.

This movie is based on the book Princess of Mars, the first in a series of 11 novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 years ago. They are also known as The Barsoom or John Carter of Mars series. A lot of what you have seen in these types of movies up until now has drawn, in some way, on this series of novels. Star Wars, Avatar, Babylon 5, Flash Gordon and even some Indiana Jones. I am sure the list is endless but Sci Fi is not my genre. When you watch John Carter, you will be able to pick the similarities immediately.

If you are aware of this movie’s existence, then you are probably aware of the negative attention it has garnered. I saw this movie over 2 weeks ago and have had to watch silently as people all over the internet trash it. They have laughed at Disney for spending $250 million on an obvious dud. They have said Disney has distanced itself from the movie before its release. They have criticised everything from the trailers to the posters to the casting of 2 unknowns as the leads. Oh and they have done all this without having seen the movie! These people are best ignored and sent back to their mother’s basements!!

Now, I will say that Disney has done itself NO favours whatsoever with the posters and trailers for John Carter. This I will concede. But I have found the best trailer which was made by serious fans of the books (www.thejohncarterfiles.com).

Please, if you are going to watch a trailer for this movie, make it this one. It just gives you a much better idea of what the movie looks like.

So what did I think? I LOVED it. I really, truly did. I wanted to see it because I had read so much about it over the last few years. Sci Fi may not be my thing but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on in the land of movie making.

This movie has all the blockbuster action we have come to expect from this genre. The CGI is spectacular. The Martian characters are fantastic. The stand out Martian is without a doubt Woola, a pet that adopts John Carter and is as ugly as he is adorable. An ugly slug like animal that will melt your heart. Trust me!

There is good vs evil. There is martian vs martian. There is human vs human. There is serious stuff. There is fun stuff. A stand out scene I just cannot resist mentioning….

When Carter does arrive on Mars, his introduction to Tars Tarkas is absolutely hilarious. The mistake with his name becomes an ongoing gag throughout the movie and to great effect. Even our hero gives up, smiles and just shakes his head. Oh and yes, there is a very easy and believable reason why they all speak English.

This movie is for everyone who likes Star Wars or Avatar. It’s for everyone who ever wished they could go to Mars. It’s for everyone who likes a love story between a handsome hero and beautiful, spirited Princess. It’s for everyone who wants to see a great movie and escape, literally, to another world for 2 hours. It’s for everyone who likes a simple Sci Fi story. It’s for everyone who likes a layered story they can think on a little later. It’s for little kids (although at over 2 hours running length it may just be a tad too long for our littlest movie goers) and it’s for big kids.

Ignore the critics and go see this movie. I think you will enjoy it. I saw it in 3D and I usually think 3D is a waste of money (sorry studios) but for this movie, fork out the extra $5 and see it in 3D.

Mars never looked so good.