Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)


Set in New York, a group of heavily armed men decide to hijack a subway car and hold everybody inside for ransom. They demand $1 million otherwise they’ll begin killing passengers. Lt. Zach Garber responds to the threat and tries to reason with the hijackers but time is running short and the mayor is isn’t sure about giving in. This wonderfully menacing film is what the remake could never amount to. Striking performances by Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw highlight this edge of your seat thriller that is somehow both calming and tense. It’s dark, gritty and reflects the realism of inner city commute. It’s not flashy and it gets down to business within the first 10 minutes of the film.

Green Lantern (2011)


Based off of the Marvel comic book hero; a test pilot named Hal Jordan nearly saves a dying alien who gives him a mysterious green ring with supernatural powers. Unwillingly, Hal becomes the successor of the alien who is part of an intergalactic peacekeeping squad. At the same time, an interstellar being known as Parallax is accidentally inserted inside Dr. Hector Hammond and soon Hammond as well as Parallax threatens to destroy humanity. Hal must find the courage to be Earth’s Green Lantern. This film could have been great but instead, it became a step up from Fantastic 4 but a step down from X-Men but Reynolds still keeps his sarcastic charm. The CGI was okay but what really bothered me was that it didn’t utilize its villains and heroes properly. I wanted to see Hector Hammond pose more of a threat, but instead I saw Hal beat up band guys in an alley. The film can be easily passed off as a great corny superhero movie but I wanted more.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)


This riveting, brutal, honest and bloody story follows a group of newly recruited marines as they deal with the abusive and dehumanizing effects of basic training before they are shipped off to Vietnam. The second half of the story follows Pvt. Joker as an army journalist as he witnesses the bloody effects of the Vietnam war. Set in the 60’s in Hue, Vietnam. This was a particularly hard film to endure, especially the first half at basic training where you begin to feel how the recruits feel as their drill instructor harasses and abuses them. It’s a dark look into the eyes of war and is only strengthened by powerful performances, wonderful direction and apocalyptic atmosphere. This film is compelling and sticks with you the rest of your life and like any great film that shows the horrors of Vietnam, it’s a tough bite to chew.

The Rocketeer (1991)


Set in the 30’s, when a young airplane pilot discovers a secrete prototype jetpack, he dawns a uniform and metal mask and becomes a local hero. However, the jetpack belongs to famed aviator Howard Hughes and his high-flying stunts have captured the eyes of a Hollywood actor that moonlights as a Nazi spy. Now the young man must find a way to stop the Nazi spy from stealing the jetpack as well as killing his friends. Great action, great art direction and a particularly menacing villain played by Timothy Dalton make this flick fun for kids but for me, I wanted a little more action and I felt like there was no real danger but rather a plot that revolves around an easily able to fix mistake. For kids it works but for adults, it might be a little iffy.

Mimic 2 (2001)


Sequel to Mimic. Years after all remnants of the Judas breed insect have been destroyed, a mysterious creature begins lurking around the slums of New York. Soon one of the teachers of a local school who once worked on the Judas breed recognizes that it’s a mutated cockroach but this time it’s different, this time they have evolved to look human. Now, after being trapped in the school, which has become the nest, she must find away to save herself as well as the two kids she saved. This was one of my childhood favorites and I don’t understand why. I was somewhat bored by it because it seems like the film went entirely for mood and not direction. It felt like it was trying to be Guillermo’s work but it was an imposter with bad CGI.

Jonah Hex (2010)


The government in exchange for his freedom recruits a lone, mysterious bounty hunter with supernatural powers (named Jonah Hex) to find and stop a terrorist who wants to use state of the art technology to blow up the capitol. Making matters more interesting is that Jonah Hex has dealt with this madmen before; he was the one who slayed his family and rendered him with a serious facial deformity. Good action and decent performances save this film from becoming a bland action-packed western. I liked the plot involving new technology as the catalyst for the terrorist but Megan Fox felt completely unneeded. Overall, it wasn’t bad but certainly not the best comic book adaption.

Super 8 (2011)


Review: Click here