Friday, July 8, 2011

Upcoming movie: Killer Elite

It is finally happening! I have been hoping for this for quite a while (I tweeted this wish a long time ago, maybe someone read it!). Jason Staham & Clive Owen are playing in the same movie. Bonus: Robert De niro and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) are in it as well.

I love seeing those two actors in action movies, so seeing them together should be very enjoyable. I would have preferred for them to team up, but they are actually enemies in this story. Come to think of it, the fight scenes should be great! You can see the trailer by clicking the title above.

The movie is scheduled to open on September 23, 2011.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Movie review - Up

Up is a great movie, with great animation and story, plus, it's very funny. What else would you expect from Pixar? They keep their perfect record here with one of their best movie to date. It is rating PG in many countries, probably because it deals with losing a loved one near the beginning and some dogs that are, well, bad dogs... Grrrr! Nothing really frightening, but very young kids may be in search of comfort on a few occasions.

Most of the movie is quite funny for the whole family. The theatre I was in, at Montreal's AMC, was packed and there was a lot of kids. But they didn't bother me during the movie, as I rarely heard them. That's a good indication that they must have been captivated by the movie. Of course, since there is a 3D version of this movie, that's the one I saw. It's well done and not too much "in your face", as some other movies are. It gives it depth, rather then throw stuff at you. I think as movies matures in their use of 3D, this will become the norm. If you can't see it in 3D, or don't want to, I'm sure it will be as enjoyable in 2D.

The story is that of Carl, a boy who dreams of adventures and who meets a girl, Ellie, with the same dreams who becomes friend with him and who he later get married to. They always want to get to live a big adventure, but life doesn't always let you do these thing, when you become responsible adults. As they grow old, the adventure seems less likely to happen. When his wife dies, Carl is alone and old. One day, something happens and he gets to live his adventure, for himself and in memory of Ellie. The way it happens is absolutely unreal, but this being an animated movie, we can forgive that little detail. As it can be seen in the trailer, Carl attaches a lot of helium-filled balloons to his house, which then simply floats away.

So get the whole family and go see Up, in 2 or 3D. Everyone will find something fun in it.

All the previews before the movie are in 3D (I assume they show the 2D versions with the 2D version of Up...) and shows that this is more then just a trend. As movies gets competition from big screens TV and surround-sound systems at home, movie studios must find a way to keep people going to movie theatres. 3D is one way to do this. Expects more movies to be in 3D in the near future. One of the preview was a teaser for Toy Story 3, opening Summer 2010.

Finally, as it is the tradition with Pixar movies, we get a short film before the main feature. Also in 3D, Partly Cloudy is a fun animation which answer the question "where do storks get the babies they deliver from anyway?". Very funny as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie review - Terminator Salvation

I saw T4, AKA, Terminator Salvation last week and I did enjoy it a lot. I saw it at Cinéma Banque Scotia (formerly The Paramount) in theatre 4, which is one of their "smaller" room (it's still big enough, mind you), but selected it because it was a DLP projection. Digital means no scratches, lines, pops and other annoying defects. Purists will say old film is still the best, but I am a digital man...

As a tag line say "it happened". Judgment Day, that is. No time travel in this story, we are in the middle of the war, launched by Skynet. So I was expecting an action movie with lots of explosions, shooting, chases, killer robots and much mayhem. Instead, I got a lovely family story reflecting on the aftermath of global warming on the North Pole. NOT! I got exactly what I was expecting. Lots of action. The story was good enough for this type of movie, but it does have a few holes. But that's not what I was thinking while I was watching, so I don't mind.

One thing that spoiled it a little for me, was knowing in advance a plot element about one of the character, which should have been a surprise, but was revealed before the movie got out. I think it was in the trailer, actually. But that was not enough to completely spoil it. Just a little.

John Connor, played by Christian Bale, is of course a key element in the story, but we also follow other characters throughout the movie. The most important character is probably Marcus Wright, played by Sam Worthington. While the original actors were not really in this movie, there are two "cameos" from T2's characters...

If you are a Terminator fan, do go see this movie. While it didn't get as much praise as another recent SciFi movie, it certainly is worth seeing on the big screen. Personally, the order in which I would put the four movies, starting with the one I like best is: T2, T1, T4, T3.

Last thing I want to mention is that one of the trailer in front of this movie was Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis. What surprised me most about it was that this movie is coming out this year, filming is obviously well under way, but this is the first I heard of it! Looks interesting.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Movie review - Star Trek

A classic franchise is reborn. Star Trek, from director J.J. Abrams is different from the ones that came before it, as well as the series it is based on, while still remaining true to what Star Trek is. As you probably already know, it's the origin story of the Starship Enterprise NCC 1701 (no freaking A, B, C or D!). We learn how Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov became the crew we all love and respect. Of course, they are younger version from the ones we saw in the original series, but the cast was very well chosen and are very credible and you accept them quickly as their respective characters. I was a bit worried that I would see Sylar instead of Spock, but Zachary Quinto absolutely gets into character and made me forget his previous famous role.

The story is excellent, there's lots of action and humour, the special effects are amazing (thank-you ILM!) and the Imax version I saw is stunning. I can't imagine there won't be a sequel with the same actors and production team, which I'm looking forward to. :-) Knowing the characters is a plus, to get some of the jokes and understanding some references, but even if you are not familiar with the 1960's TV series version, you should see this movie, as an introduction to this universe. At least if you are a Science-Fiction fan.

I will likely go see this movie again, as I really loved it. And for once, IMDB and Cinema Montreal, as well as Twitter and other blog sources, seems to be in agreement that this movie rocks! At least half of the spectators of the sold-out Imax theatre I was in stayed with me until the very end, hoping for a last scene, but such was not the case. :-( Needless to say, I highly recommend this movie to all Sci-Fi fans.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Movie review - X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I've been waiting for this one ever since it was announced some time ago. X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the tale of how Wolverine, as well as other mutants, came to be who they are today. Or at least until the end of the movie. I hear it's not quite how it was in the comics, the true origin of the characters, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who knows only the big screen version. Actually, I also know the animated series, shown on TV. Anyway, I did like this movie. It covers part of Wolverine's past, how he got his adamantium upgrade, his amnesia and other details.

There's plenty of action, great special effects (except perhaps one makeup job near the end of the movie, which you'll figure out once you see it), interesting characters and the story is pretty good. By the way, about a third of the spectators knew better, just like me, than to leave before the very end of the movie... Are we clear on this? OK, then let me be crystal clear: There is a scene at the very end of the movie, after the credits.

I'm not sure what will come next. Can they fit another story between this prequel and the first X-Men movie? Probably. They can do anything if you throw enough money at it. I'd be curious to see how they would bridge the events that don't quite follow the chronology.

Once again, the notes given to this movie are much better on Cinema Montreal than on IMDB. I'm not sure what this says about us Montrealers, but I guess I'll keep trusting them more then the rest of the world!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Movie review - Crank: High Voltage

AKA Crank 2, AKA Crank 2: High Voltage, this is the second Crank movie, starring Jason Statham as the nearly immortal Chev Chelios. The first one was pretty crazy and this one is even more insane. This is not a family movie, because of, well, everything. I really liked this movie and I'm looking forward to another one, which I'm pretty sure will materialize. It also stars Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Dwight Yoakam and many others, including a few surprise cameos. Also, there are bloopers all throughout the closing credits, so stay until they kick you out.

There's action, outrageous situations, lots of humour, gratuitous scenes, violence and just plain silly fun. In the first movie, Chelios was injected with a poison and had to keep his adrenaline up to stay alive (think Speed, but replace the bus with a human being!). This time, his heart gets stolen and is replaced with a temporary artificial one. This mechanical heart is not meant for the type of activities Chelios needs to take part of in order to recover his own super-heart. So, of course, he needs to deliver frequent jolts of electricity to his artificial heart to keep it beating. Since the heart is inside of him, the electricity must goes through him. He gets very creative in the different type of ways he gets his needed power intakes, including static electricity, which he gets through, well, friction...

Seeing the first movie is not mandatory, but is recommended. If you are prude or easily offended, go see something else (Earth is really squeaky clean), but if you're like me and enjoy raunchy humour, go see it already!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Movie review - Earth

Earth is a big change of pace from the comedies and action movies I usually see. It's a documentary staring the natural beauties of our planet. It does feature amazing landscapes from around the world and is a joy to just watch. But, it does come with very good narration. The "American" version I saw is with James Earl Jones and is well done. The English one is with Patrick Stewart. I wonder if both will be available on the DVD.

Besides the plants, trees, water, ice and snow, there are lots of animals too. We follow the migration of a few families in particular, as well as many other random ones. Nature is a hard world to live in and we do get a sense of this, although it never gets bloody. Scenes of predators catching their prey usually cuts before it gets too graphic. There were lots of kids in the theatre and I don't think any of them were traumatized... I didn't notice any parent having to take their kid's out of the room, at the very least.

There is a message in the movie, regarding global warming, but it's rather subtle. It doesn't try to explain why it's happening or what should be done about it. They just state the fact that it's a big problem for bears and other animals that the ice at the poles is thinning, there is less of it surface-wise and it's happening for longer period of times.

The planet is changing, but life goes on. I went to see this movie for it's beautiful looks and I did get that. And seeing it on a big screen does amplify this, so I suggest you go see it in this format as well.

Activity update

I haven't blogged about a movie in quite a while, I'm going to try to correct that. I'll probably skip some movies, as I have seen many since my last review. Also, I'm going to have to give up on reviewing them in order. Thanks to DVD, and eventually TV, I guess any review can still be relevant, even after they are no longer on the big screen. But it still make sense in my mind to start with movies still in theatres.

If you really miss me, I'm more active on Tumblr, which does aggregate this blog, as well has other feeds, such as Flickr and Twitter. This last one is my most active feed, as I tweet regularly, including short movie reviews right after I have seen them.

Well, I'm off to my next review, the last movie I have seen...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How I solved my missing 8GB CF card mystery.

On Friday, as I was getting ready for Saturday's outing with the Photo Safari Montreal group, I noticed I was missing my spare memory card. I looked just about everywhere I might have left it, but could not find it. No data was at risk, but I paid a $100 for it and it's a useful item to have when you'll be taking pictures far from an electronic store. I had tweeted this, but somehow it didn't help the situation.

So, I went to our outing, at Exporail, in the Canadian Railway Museum, without my spare card. I didn't need it, so no big deal. But what I needed was my tripod's quick-release adapter, which attach to the camera and slides into the tripod's head. That was missing from my new bag as well. That was a bigger deal, because inside photography without a tripod is more of a challenge. Good thing I had just bought my new Canon Speedlight 580 EX II at the same time I bought my new and bigger backpack camera bag. Still, I missed using my tripod, which I carried around all day for nothing.

Coming back home, I figured I would find the adapter on a different camera, but such was not the case. I was now missing two items that used to be in my old bag, a Lowepro Stealth Reporter D200 AW. It's a nice camera transport bag, but it had become too small for me. I searched that bag many times before, looking for my CF card and proceeded to go through it again, as it was the only logical place my missing items had to be. Again, all pockets were searched carefully and in depth. I was starting to feel like a proctologist... Then I noticed the sides were attached with Velcro to the inside compartments. What's that? I separated the sides and pulled out the insides of my bag. What did I find, at the bottom of my bag? A video cable, a USB cable, my darn 8 GB card and my fraking tripod adapter! What I thought were front and back pockets turned out to be only gaps in the bag, not meant to put stuff in them.

There's a lesson to be learned, here. When emptying a bag of any kind, don't be afraid to TEAR IT APART to make sure it is really empty.

I'm sure other models and brands of bags have the same design, so be warned and keep this tale in mind if your things start disappearing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Isaac Asimov's Foundation to become a movie.

Zap2It announced today that the popular Foundation stories will be adapted for the big screen. I'm a big fan of Asimov and the Foundation series was very good. So I'm both intrigued and worried. There's no way to tell the whole story in one movie. No mention of a series of movies, but I suppose that could still happen.

At best, it will be inspired by the main story arc, the idea and goal of the Foundation. Perhaps both of them. That's what happened with I, Robot. While I still liked the later, it was not an Asimov story. There was a reason why he wouldn't let people make movies out of his books. But he is sadly no longer with us to defend his brilliant ideas.

Of course, unless the trailer really stinks, I will most likely go see this movie the day it comes out. I'm just like that. The announcement was mainly to address the fact that there is a director attached to the movie, Roland Emmerich. I like some of his movies, others were so-so and some, I didn't bother seeing. Let's hope this will be a good one.

Foundation has a release year of 2011 on IMDb, but there are no other details yet, so I may be linking to the wrong page... They claim to have more details in the Pro section. Maybe I'll sign-up for it one day.