Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hercules (2014)

Released July 25th, 2014
1 hr 38 mins
Rated PG-13


Director: Brett Ratner


Dwayne Johnson as Hercules
John Hurt as Cotys, King of Thrace
Rufus Sewell as Autolycus
Ian McShane as Amphiaraus
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta
Aksel Hennie as Tydeus
Reece Ritchie as Iolaus
Rebecca Ferguson as Ergenia
Joseph Fiennes as King Eurystheus
Steve Peacocke as Stephanos
Peter Mullan

Irina Shayk as Megara
Joe Anderson
Tamina Snuka
Barbara Palvin as Antimache
Tobias Santelmann as Rhesus

Review by Stephen M.

I finally had a chance to see Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson as the lead role of Hercules.  The movie wasn't what I was quite expecting but enjoyed it overall nonetheless.  Director Brett Ratner and the filmmakers put an interesting twist on the classic lore of Hercules, making him more man than God.  But despite his mercenary background and less than truthful accomplishments, the hero naturally comes out of him.  He is after all Hercules, or is he?

As the movie starts off, we see Hercules performing all these miraculous deeds, or labors that he is known for.  Such as defeating the Hydra and Nemean Lion, the latter with his bear hands.  But as the story shifts, we see that these are all stories told by Hercules's nephew who likes to embellish his uncle's tales to bring fear to his enemies he is about to battle.  As a matter of fact, Hercules is a mercenary with a band of warriors each joining him partly as repaying a debt for him helping them in his journey.  It is these characters, that really make the film greater than it should be given Dwayne's lackluster performance in the film.

The two in his party that stood out the most is Deadwood veteran, Ian McShane as Amphiaraus and Norweigian actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta.  The latter you would have seen as the witch in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.  Amphiaraus, part seer, part warrior steals the show with his many hilarious scenes in which he expects his own death.  Atalanta is not your typical supporting female character, oozing toughness without being overly sexual at the same time.  Also memorable are John Hurt as Cotys, King of Thrace, and Reece Ritchie as Iolaus, Hercules's nephew.

Overall, I would recommend catching this film, if at least as a matinee.  It is much more entertaining than this year's earlier Hercules's entry "The Legend of Hercules," which wasn't too difficult.  Dwayne Johnson though like Kellan Lutz in their respective Hercules movies are quite stiff in their line deliveries.  Instead of seeing Hercules, you see the actors playing the character, if you get my drift.  Still, there is enough to like in this film to enjoy with the witty jokes and action scenes to go watch it on the big screen.  With the way the movie is set up and how it's being beat by Lucy, I would be surprise if there was a sequel though.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Releases on DVD July 29th, 2014; released in theaters June 13th, 2014
1 hr 57 mins
Rated R


Director: Andrew Levitas

Amy Adams as Emily
Garrett Hedlund as Jonathan Lowenstein
Jessica Brown Findlay as Karen Lowenstein
Terrence Howard as Doctor
Daniel Sunjata as 
Frances Shaw as Janice (as Frankie Shaw)
Jessica Barden as Meredith
Anne Archer as Rachel Lowenstein
Richard Jenkins as Robert Lowenstein
Jennifer Hudson as Nurse
Sterling Jerins as Young Karen

Sebastian Hedges Thomas as Shelby (as Sebastian Thomas)

Review by Danale H.

Lullaby is a drama about a family who is brought together during a devastating time, to witness their terminally ill husband and father, Robert (played by Richard Jenkins), be removed from life support after a 12 year battle with cancer.

Upon arriving at a hospital in Manhattan, New York, Jonathan (played by Garrett Hedlund) learns that his father wants to be taken off life support in less than 48 hours. During this short time, Jonathan and his family struggle to get over past issues, he unexpectedly meets a teen patient, Meredith (played by Jessica Barden) who is terminally ill with bone cancer, and he just so happens to chance upon the love of his life, Emily (played by Amy Adams). Robert attempts in every opportunity to help his family recover all that his disease has taken from them. A history of distressing emotions are played out as old conflicts arise and reconciliation begins, but in the end, Jonathan is able to reconnect and restore his relationships with his father, his mother Rachel (played by Anne Archer), and his sister Karen (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). This film takes us on an unforeseen and moving journey of forgiveness, love, and laughter.

Although it is a very touching film, I enjoyed the fact that it came across as very realistic in the pain, happiness, and the reality of having to go through such an ordeal of losing a loved one, at least from the family's point of view. In the film, the father requests an assisted suicide, is this the right decision? I don't think this movie will make you think too hard about this decision being right or wrong. The cast was great (and very believable), the visual quality and editing was great. The film looked as if it could be a movie theater presentation. There were a couple of things I did not like about the film however, such as the way Jennifer Hudson and Amy Adams was used in the film. It was as if they were just there to add something to the story, but i'm not really sure that was necessary. I also did not like that Jonathan just happened to find everyone he was looking for (i.e. the scene when he comes upon his sister preparing her presentation in a hospital area outside of where their father is being kept OR when he goes outside of the hospital and his ex girlfriend is sitting there -- it was as if he knew she would be there).

Overall, I liked the film, and think it is worth the watch. I give it a 4 out of 5. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Get On Up

Releases August 1st, 2014
2 hr 18 mins
Rated PG-13
Drama, Music/Performing Arts


Director: Tate Taylor


Chadwick Boseman as James Brown
Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd
Brandon Mychal Smith as Little Richard
Jill Scott as Deidre "Dee-Dee" Jenkins
Tika Sumpter as Yvonne Fair
Viola Davis as Susie Brown
Octavia Spencer as Aunt Honey
Keith Robinson as Baby Roy
Lennie James as Joseph "Joe" James
James DuMont as Corporal Dooley
Dan Aykroyd as Ben Bart
Nick Eversman as Mick Jagger
Josh Hopkins as Ralph Bass
Kirk Bovill as Announcer
Ralph Tresvant as Sam Cooke

Aakomon Jones as Bobby Bennett

Review by Stephen M.

Get On Up, the biopic on James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, lacks the electrifying funk that the man the movie is based on possessed.  If you're a fan of his music you may enjoy this trip down memory lane, though it seems to be not a complete story.  Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in "42," fills another pair of big shoes as far as American icons as James Brown.   We get to see a much more different role in the flamboyant James Brown compared to the subdue Robinson for Chadwick.

From his humble beginnings from a dirt poor family, including his famous cop car chase and performing in his later years prior to his death, we see the different stages in his life.  From being given away by his father to a brothel, to joining a gospel group, and then going solo, we see a wikipedia of facts about his life.  What the film really lacks though is substance, including the motivation and drive of James Brown in his decisions in life during pivotal moments.  The film also ignores James Brown's drug abuse problem in the later stages of his life, painting a more rosy picture of the hardest working man in the business.

Chadwick does an admirable job in emulating the Godfather, from his dance moves to his thick accent.  With regards to the aging of his character, I don't see much difference in his appearance despite his character going into his 60's.  Dan Aykroyd as Ben, James's manager and friend and Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd, James's best friend during his career, both also are memorable in their roles.  Brandon Mychal Smith is entertaining as Little Richard, whom I did not know had a role in James's breakout.  For me, the female characters in the film are completely forgettable aside from James's mom, Susie played by Viola Davis.  The film would have you believe that James had no important woman in his life, at least in regards to his music career.

Overall, I would recommend waiting for this one to come out on Netflix or catching a matinee of the film.  Aside from being able to sing along with the film with such familiar hits like "Please, Please, Please", "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", and even "Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud," there's little else to move you to see the film.  It fails to capture the larger than life legacy that was James Brown.  Chadwick's character Brown talks about how he influenced all genres of music, but fails to demonstrates this point, as the film loses focus often as Brown did later in life.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Amber Alert: Terror on the High Way
Releases on DVD July 29th, 2014
1 hr 23 mins
Not Rated


Director: George Mendeluk
Tom Berenger as Larsan
Torri Higginson as Chief Geiger
Britt McKillip as Katie
Genevieve Buechner as Debra
Nicole Oliver as Cynthia
Chilton Crane as Marie
Jessica Parker Kennedy as Sandy
Tyler Johnston as Pete
Dana McLoughlin as June Larson

Review by Danale H.

In Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway (not to be confused with the Amber Alert film made in 2012), a dangerous man kidnaps two teenage girls, triggering the Amber Alert system. 

Just released from a 10 year prison sentence, convict, Edward Larson (played by Tom Berenger) proves that he is a criminal at heart -- robbing two men in the woods, hijacking the car of two elderly women, and holding up a small town gas station -- before heading to his old home, in Oregon. Upon his arrival, Larson finds that his ex-wife. June Larson (played by Dana McLoughlin) doesn't want anything to do with him. She wants him out of her and their daughter, Kaylee Larson's (played by Katie Stuart), life for good. From there, he decides to head to the only place he's ever truly felt free, a lake in the mountains, but not before kidnapping Debra (Genevieve Buechner), who is celebrating her birthday with her best friend, and Katie (Britt McKillip), who wants to travel to Italy with friends. After receiving a 911 call from Debra's boyfriend, Pete (played by Tyler Johnston), and investigating the site of the kidnapping, Sheriff Geiger (played by Torri Higginson), the mother of Debra's boyfriend, decides to activate the amber alert. The cops eventually catch up to Larson, and... you'll have to see for yourself how it ends.

This approximately 83 minute long movie, overall, seemed to have a time killing pointlessness to it with its underdeveloped characters, mundane performances, messy plot, and fatuous dialogue. Though veteran actor, Tom Berenger, is able to deliver a creepy performance, his performance across the board was uninspiring. I would recommend Platoon, if you want to see Berenger show off his bad side in a good film, as his talent may have been wasted in this one. The rest of the cast demonstrates a lack of chemistry and mediocre acting, which consists of lots of crying and over doing it. I'm referring to the chemistry between Marie and her estranged husband, when they reunited and were looking to get back together?? ... It seemed forced and trying, like an attempt to add something meaningful to the film. There are a few of those moments, including the conversation between the police Chief and her son. The most believable moment was the young brothers of Katie asking their mom to tell their sister to come home. I was frustrated with the chemistry (or lack thereof) and interaction of the kidnapped girls, as well as their lack of any real dialogue, only crying. I would have liked to see the girls work together, as Katie's character seemed to take some initiative and the lead, Debra did virtually nothing, but boohoo. Another scene I'm paused to is, -- and this was especially more comedic than scary when you think of someone in a situation like this, not to mention bad overacting, -- Cynthia (Debra's mom) when she learns, from the police, that her daughter has been kidnapped, and she runs frantically from door to door asking for help. She over did it, and in doing so, she made it not believable at all.

From the beginning, Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway does not really draw any emotion from the viewer. The only part of this movie I can honestly say I liked, was the end. It's a low budget film, and it shows with the terrible acting and editing. The numerous choppy scenes were poorly done. Directed by George Mendeluk and produced by Jack Nasser, Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway attempts to bring about a terrifying, emotional, suspenseful drama or thriller. It didn't do that for me. I'd give it a 1 out of 5 and in my opinion, this movie may have been better as a book. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy
Releases August 1st, 2014
2 hr 2 mins
Rated PG-13
Action/Adventure, Family


Director: James Gunn

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel as Groot (Voice)
Bradley Cooper as Rocket (Voice)
Lee Pace as Ronan
Michael Rooker as Yondu
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Djimon Hounsou as Korath
John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey
Glenn Close as Nova Prime Irani Rael
Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan/The Collector
Josh Brolin as Thanos (Voice)

Review by Stephen M.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun space adventure that was sorely lacking in Marvel repertoire of movies.  While the movie is very good, it fails to unseat Captain America: Winter Soldier as the top Marvel movie for me.  One of the lesser known comic book super groups will become a household name and they have Chris Pratt who plays Peter Quill and Bradley Cooper who plays Rocket to thank for that.  Bradley Cooper as Rocket steals the whole show with his furry bad attitude.  I love the fact that they don't call him Rocket Raccoon, to which Rocket would reply "What's a raccoon?"

The band of five comes together as a group when their universe is threatened by Ronan, who gets his hands on an infinity gem that Thanos was after.  Aside from Peter Quill, very later back story is given on the rest of the members.  And even then, we only see the surface of who Peter Quill actually is.  Besides Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana is good as Gamora, and Vin Diesel as well given his limited line of "I am Groot."

On the flip side, part of what makes the film a step stone away from great, are all the other characters starting with Dave Bautista as Drax.  Drax's character is incredibly limited and disappointing. Him being the butt of jokes due to his ignorance is funny but gets repetitive quick.  Ronan was not what I was expecting, with his fight scenes quite disappointing given how limited it was.  Michael Rooker as Yondu and John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey also falls into the category of out of place characters.  For Yondu, you essentially have a blue Merle.  Nebula (Karen Gillen) has a much more limited role than I would have expected as well.  It is a shame given her cool patchwork appearance.  As you can tell it's a recurring theme, and it continues with The Collector and Thanos as well, being underwhelming due to their limited appearance.  I guess what I'm saying is that it could have been a longer film with bigger battle scenes!

Besides Rocket and Groot or Rocket and Peter's hilarious dialogue together, what really sets the mood and makes the film good is the amazing soundtrack.   Peter, as a child before he is abducted, loves to listen to his walkman with a mix tape of upbeat 1970s songs by his mother before her passing.  Catchy songs like "Hooked on a Feeling" fits well with the scenes, giving us an often goofy carefree dancing Peter Quill.  With regards to the CGI and animation, Rocket and Groot looks amazing.  The spaceships and weaponry could have been more creative in design.  The old celestial Knowhere mining post looked amazing from a distance.  And shouldn't Drax be more green?  I guess they didn't want people thinking he was the same alien race as Gamora.

Overall, I would recommend seeing it.  The screening version that I saw did not have any after credit scenes.  I did love the cute little scene between Groot and Drax at the start of the credits.  The film is as good as Avengers was, but doesn't have the same feel of a space epic like Star Wars which it tried to heavily advertised as being similar to in scope.  I thought Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana had great chemistry together and would love to see more of that in the second film.  If they don't go against Thanos in the next Guardians film then I would love to see them face off against Annihilus and the Annihilation wave.  However this was definitely a very good first outing for the Guardians.


Join us for a screening on Weds 7/30 of Guardians of the Galaxy in Manhattan.  Contest ends July 28th, 2014, Midnight ET.

How to enter:
1. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
2. Comment below which Marvel villain would you like to see in a future Marvel film (besides Ultron and Thanos) with your real full name.
3. E-mail us with the SUBJECT "Guardians NYC" and in the body your full real name and cell number in which you may be reach.  (Contact information are collected to contact the winner in case the winner does not respond by e-mail.  After the contest, all contact information are discarded; Entries without this info or the incorrect subject will be discarded)
4. For an extra entry, share this post on Facebook or Twitter and tag us @geekwithmak.

Good luck!

If you have won one of our contests within the last 30 days you do not qualify.  If you have already seen Guardians, give another person a chance to see it and do not enter please.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lucy (2014)
Releases July 25th, 2014
1 hr 29 mins
Rated R
Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller


Director: Luc Besson

Scarlett Johansson as Lucy, a drug mule who is injected with a drug that enhances her abilities.
Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman
Choi Min-sik as Kang
Amr Waked as a Pierre Del Rio
Pilou Asbaek as Richard
Mason Lee as Regent Hotel Concierge #2
Analeigh Tipton as Caroline
Frédéric Chau as Cabin Manager
Claire Tran as Flight Attendent
Jan Oliver Schroeder as French Mule
Paul Chan as Taipei Surgeon
Julian Rhind-Tutt as The Limey
Luca Angeletti as Italian Mule

Review by Stephen M.

While the filmmakers would like that you #SeeLucy, I would say wait for it to come out on Netflix or cable.  Even the beautiful and talented Scarlett Johansson could not save this convoluted mish mash of a sci-fi/action movie.  Director Luc Besson in trying to be creative, dilutes the action with his cross-over with National Geographic or any one of Morgan Freeman's narrative Disney nature films.

The premise itself is simple enough.  Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) gets caught up in a Korean drug smuggling ring in Taiwan and is forced to smuggle a new drug along with three other mules.  When the drug that is surgically put in her lower abdomen is leaked into her system, it begins to unlock her brain's utilization capacity which is normally about 10% for humans.  As it slowly increases towards 100%, her powers increase but her grip on what we know as humanity is diminished as well.

What is it exactly that I don't like about the film?  It's hard to pin down just one so here's a few things.  Normally when you have an action film in which a person is wronged, it becomes a revenge film.  This is not a revenge film though you do see a lot of action.  But like I said before, the use of videos of animals and other clips are interesting but used too frequently in this film.   It creates an uneven pacing especially in the beginning.  In the latter part of the movie you get characters that are not pivotal to the plot point.  Morgan Freeman's character Professor Norman, and even the French policeman Pierre (Amr Waked) are fairly useless characters to the plot.  Amr's character asks Lucy, why does she need him to which she replies to help her remember and kisses him.  However since there are no further build up or close contact between the two, this makes her answer kind of pointless.

Overall, I would skip it in the theaters and wait for it where you don't have to pay additional money for the film.  Despite the star power of Scarlett and Morgan, the film is not worth your time with the frustration of understanding or caring about the characters and the story.  Fans of the Japanese animation Akira will love the ending scenes of Lucy's transformation, reminiscence of Tetsuo's transformation.  But I would rather watch the animation Akira again for that, and re-watch Captain America Winter Soldier for my Scarlett fix then sitting through this film again.  Once is more than enough.


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy is out in theaters beginning today.  You can read our review here:

Enter to win The Purge: Anarchy Prize Pack which includes:
The Purge: Anarchy Promo T-shirt (size L)
The Purge: Anarchy Promo Flashlight

About The Purge: Anarchy 
On July 18th, prepare for Anarchy by checking out the “5 Things To Know Before You Watch The Purge: Anarchy” Interactive GIFs. Move your mouse across the GIFs to control the scene!

The New Founders of America invite you to celebrate your annual right to Purge. The Purge: Anarchy follows an unlikely group of five citizens who, over the course of the night, are hunted across the city in a kill-or-be-killed series of survival scenarios during the annual Purge.



How to enter:
1. Comment on how they would stay safe and what they would do if the Purge night really happened on Twitter or Facebook.  Please include the hashtags #PurgeAnarchy and #UnitedWePurge as well tag us @geekwithmak
2. Play with all the GIFs and comment below with your favorite “Thing To Know Before You Watch The Purge: Anarchy” Fact.  In the comment below include your real name and a link to your Facebook account or Twitter handle so I can easily reach you if you win.
3.  Tweet about this contest or share this contest URL on Facebook using the hashtags #PurgeAnarchy and #UnitedWePurge for an additional entry.

Contests ends July 26th Midnight ET.  If you won any prizes on within the last 30 days you are not eligible.  Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Purge Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  Contest open to U.S. residents only.

Sex Tape
Releases July 18, 2014
1 hr 34 mins
Rated R


Director: Jake Kasdan

Cameron Diaz as Annie
Jason Segel as Jay
Rob Corddry as Robbie
Ellie Kemper as Tess
Rob Lowe as Hank, Annie's boss
Nat Faxon as Max
Nancy Lenehan as Linda
Randall Park as Edward
Dave "Gruber" Allen as Mailman

Review by Stephen M.

So this is the movie that will probably get my site flagged due to its title and content on companies's website filters.  While there is nofrontal nudity, there is still plenty of sexual content, simulated sex and F words that will might make even Howard Stern blush.  Okay probably not.  While a silly premise and supposedly impossible, according to Apple, the film has its laugh out loud moments that makes it worth watching as a matinee at the very least.

If this film teaches you anything, it is that Cameron Diaz still carries herself well or as her movie husband Jay (Jason Segel) callsher, a sexpot.  Jay and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are in a rut sexually after you are led to believe that, that is what their relationship is solely built on in the first 15 minutes of the film.  With two kids, the two never have the time to try to engage each other and when they finally have a night to themselves, can't get it on like their glorious dating days.  In comes the iPad (thank you Steve Jobs) to record their drunken reenacting of positions from their book "The Joy of Sex."  Months later the "Sex Tape" leaks out to the cloud via Jay giving out used iPads to friends and family as gifts each synched to his playlist.  Thus, begins a night of a mad dash to retrieve the used iPads.

While I did have many laughs and enjoyed the film, there are definitely things you can nitpick with in the film.  Starting with Jason Segel who gets kudos for his dog scene, but offers little else as far as acting ability, and leading man appeal.  But let's go back to the beginning with the mommy blogger writing about her sex life.  It completely contradicts to what the overall message that they try to convey in the end about relationships.  The Porntube king played by a certain star that also starred with Segel in The Muppets fails to capture his usual comedic brilliance.  Like Segel, his performance is on the flat side.  I did enjoy Diaz's performance as well as supporting characters Tess (Ellie Kemper) and Robbie (Rob Corddry). Rob Lowe's performance as Annie's potential boss is good but just a bit too over the top.  Trying to come across as funny but instead comes across as creepy.  Especially with the Disney murals.

Given the theme of the movie, obviously this is not for everyone.  If you're not into details you will definitely enjoy the raunchy film. It makes for a great date movie even if the principles are a bit skewed.  At the very least, the movie should make roller skates popular again and reminds us why we should never make a sex tape.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Released June 27th, 2014
2 hr 5 mins
Rated R
Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy


Director: Bong Joon-ho

Chris Evans as Curtis Everett
Song Kang-ho as Namgoong Minsu
Go Ah-sung as Yona
Jamie Bell as Edgar
John Hurt as Gilliam
Tilda Swinton as Mason
Octavia Spencer as Tanya
Ed Harris as Wilford
Ewen Bremner as Andrew
Luke Pasqualino as Grey
Alison Pill as Teacher
Vlad Ivanov as Franco the Elder
Adnan Hasković as Franco the Younger
Clark Middleton as Painter
Tómas Lemarquis as Egg-head
Emma Levie as Claude
Stephen Park as Fuyu

Jean-Marc Rochette in a cameo

Reviewed by Stephen M.

Snowpiercer has been a movie I have been wanting to see due to the rave reviews I have read about the movie.  The movie hasn't been heavily advertised but is definitely one of the summer movies you should watch if you have a chance.  The post-apocalpytic action sci-fi film is full of thrills that keeps you glued to your seat.  Snowpiercer is about the remnants of humanity surviving on a train with it's own self sustaining environment after efforts to reduce global warming causes a new ice age.  The story is part Day After Tomorrow, Hunger Games and Old Boy, making the train ride an insane one.  As Ed Harris's character Wilford would say, you need a little insanity to ride on the train.

The story focuses on Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) as he reluctantly leads an uprising from the back of the train, where the freeloaders are subjected to harsh conditions by the upper class citizens of the trains in the front.  Curtis and his fellow revolutionaries are trying to reach the engine which resides Wilford, who is a rich designer of the eternity engine and the train that they all reside in.  You think they would be grateful for being just being alive as opposed to freezing to death.  But the conditions in the back has forced their hand from what they believe to be a prison from the upper class.

What makes the movie great besides the plot and premise are the actors. Starting from Captain America himself Chris Evans to the motley of American and foreign actors.   The movie is 70% in English with the other times, subtitled in English.  Korean actors Song Kang-ho as Namgoong Minsu and Go Ah-sung as Yona are amazing as father and daughter drug addicts that holds the key to Curtis's advancement towards the front of the train.  Their characters are such contrasts to each other, but yet so complimentary, making them stand out even more.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film.  From the story, to the actors and even the set pieces and CGI, everything is just beautifully put together.  As the characters in the film would say, there is balance that must be maintained and Director Bong Joon-ho does an amazing job.  I am though not a big fan of how the film ended, but that is not enough reason to avoid the film.  I would love to see other films made that explores the world of Snowpiercer and even the events leading up to the train being built and the early days that Curtis talks about.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Sign up for this FREE event happening July 18th, 2014 in New York City.  It's a premiere party for the movie "Video Games the Movie."  The free tickets is only for the party.  However at the party you can win free passes to the movie, as well as enjoy a night of classic as well as new video games.  Besides movie tickets, you can also grab a drink and food as well win other goodies.

For more info and to sign up, visit:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy

Releases July 18th, 2014
1 hr 43 mins
Rated R
Suspense/Thriller, Horror


Director: James DeMonaco

Frank Grillo as Leo Barnes 
Carmen Ejogo as Eva
Zach Gilford as Shane 
Kiele Sanchez as Liz 
Zoe Soul as Cali 
Michael K. Williams as Carmelo 
Justina Machado as Tanya 
John Beasley as Papa Rico 
Jack Conley as Big Daddy 
Noel Gugliemi as Diego 
Castulo Guerra as Barney 
Edwin Hodge as The Stranger 
Keith Stanfield as Young Ghoul Face 
Roberta Valderrama as Lorraine 
Brandon Keener as Warren Grass 
Chad Morgan as Janice

Review by Stephen M.  

Less goofy and more action packed than the first Purge film, The Purge: Anarchy addresses all the criticisms of the first and hits a triple.  With unemployment under 5%, the citizens of this fine country, once a year lets out their beast with no retribution.  It's on this very night that the path of five individuals crosses, trapped out in the open during the Purge.

The main characters in the film include Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) who is a couple stranded after their car is sabotaged by a group wearing masks.  Leo (Frank Grillo) who willingly goes out at night during the Purge appears to have a vendetta.  And finally, Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul) who is dragged out of their building by government agents for unknown reasons.  As Eva and Cali are being dragged out, Leo happens to pass by and reluctantly helps the pair.  As he does, Shane and Liz happens upon Leo's car while being pursued by the gang that sabotaged their car.  It becomes a free for all from there.

As with the prior movies, there are underlying messages of social inequality between the rich and the poor.  From the rich hunting down the vagrants to hosting hunting parties.  Michael K. Williams plays Carmelo, an underground leader, who is opposed to the idea of The Purge seeking to disrupt it through violence.  While having "Omar Little" play such an anti-government role is great, I would have loved Wesley Snipes as Carmelo.  Given some of the character's lines and Wesley's clashes with the U.S. government over taxes he would have been great.

Frank Grillo, whom you may have last seen in Captain America Winter Soldier, turns the Purge: Anarchy into an action film and that's fine by me.  To call this a horror film would be a stretch.  Sure there are some blood splattering moments, and the creepy eerie feeling that someone is about to be killed.  But I would say the film is more of a thriller and action film than a horror film.  Frank who should be getting more face time behind a mask in the next Captain America film shows that he's ready as a leading man in an action film.  Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul are good in their roles as well as Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez despite some of the cheesy lines they are told to say.  The weakest of the group for me was Zach Gilford.  You keep hoping his character would die already.

Overall, I would recommend the film.  Die hard horror fans may want to pass on this.  If you enjoyed the first film, I think you would definitely enjoy this film.  What keeps the film from being great are some of the obvious errors in the film such as when Zach's character's leg gets snared in a trap but seems to have no problem walking.  Or towards the end when the surviving characters ask for a car to go to the hospital, even though they just exited from a working car!  Little things like that just makes you shake your head.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Releases July 11th, 2014
2 hr 10 mins
Rated PG-13
Action/Adventure, Drama


Director: Matt Reeves


Jason Clarke as Malcolm
Gary Oldman as Dreyfus
Keri Russell as Ellie
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander
Jocko Sims as Werner
Kirk Acevedo as Carver
Enrique Murciano as Kempt
Kevin Rankin as McVeigh
Keir O'Donnell as Finney
J. D. Evermore as Sniper


Andy Serkis as Caesar
Judy Greer as Cornelia
Terry Notary as Rocket
Karin Konoval as Maurice
Toby Kebbell as Koba
Doc Shaw as Ash
Nick Thurston as River

Reviewed by Stephen M.

The sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes us ten years later where a large portion of humanity has succumbed to the simian flu (ALZ-113 virus) that started at the lab which created Caesar (Andy Serkis).  Caesar is still the top Chimpanzee of his group of apes on one side of the Golden Gate Bridge, while humans who haven't been seen for over two years are on the other.  Of course, the two sides must cross paths, as Malcom (Jason Clarke) leads an expedition to restore a dam on the apes' side that will power back the human side of San Francisco.

What you will love about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the action of which there are plenty.  From humans vs. apes to apes vs. apes, you quickly learn from this movie that apes and automatic rifles just do not mix.  There is little humor to be found in this movie but there are a lot of messages about trust, family and betrayal.  Koba, (Toby Kebbell) as one of Caesar's right hand ape, has some of the best scenes in the movie.  From him "acting up" at the armory, to him simply reaching out his arm to Caesar as a sign of trust or asking for forgiveness.  A lot is said without any words spoken by the actors.  The details given to the apes are just amazing in letting them convey a variety of emotions.

While the apes get praises the humans are not as stellar.  Jason Clarke does a decent job as Malcom while Ellie's (Kerri Russell) and Malcom's son Alexander's (Kodi Smit-McPhee) roles are fairly meaningless to the film extending it unnecessarily.  Gary Oldman's role as Dreyfus, the leader of the humans is reminiscence of his role of Commissioner Gordon deviating very little.  Not enough character development is really given to the humans which is fine by me.

While I cannot praise enough of the CGI and the acting of the apes themselves, often at times the background and masses are just a poor jumble of blurred something.  Case in point the below picture, which while a cool image, fails on the big IMAX screen when details are magnified, or rather lack of details are magnified.  Despite this, definitely watch this on the big screen.  There's nothing cooler than watching an ape in a tank on an IMAX screen.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film especially if you're a fan of the original movies or the first movie.  It's a different turn from the first movie as the first dealt more with humans and had a more intricate storyline.  The sequel is a bit more everywhere with betrayals from both sides and a lot of action.  Despite the ton of action scenes, the movie (particularly the human scenes) does lag at times but not to the extent that Transformers Age of Extinction will bore you to death with.

Also be sure to watch the web episodes that shows what happened during the 10 years leading up to this movie.  You can find them here.