Thursday, August 18, 2011

Formula for a good action movie

      "Rescue the damsel in distress, kill the bad guys, save the world" --an actual line from one of the Mummy movies of around 1999-2001;spoken by Brendan Fraser.If you think about it,practically every good action movie has these basic elements.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Than One Drought

     As everyone knows, there has been a shortage of rain here in Texas. I think that's not the only drought however. The big screen releases of the last few weeks offer precious little in any promising movie entertainment.The trailers I have seen when I was at some of the movies I have already reviewed showed little hope of a good movie evolving from their highlight scenes. I hope I can find an independent movie somewhere soon that would be a possible choice to see and review.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

Directed by--Jon Favreau

Jake Lonergan--Daniel Craig
Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde--Harrison Ford
Ella--Olivia Wilde

     Cowboys and Aliens is an interesting concept for a movie and when I first saw the trailer for this movie I knew I would go see it.Sometimes though the promise of the trailer does not develop into the movie we hope to see.This is the case with Cowboys and Aliens.
     The mood of the Old West was nicely set in a haunting opening scene and we are captivated by the stranger who knows not his name or from where he came.He awakes with an unusual bracelet firmly attached to his arm and despite his loss of memory he is self assured and seemingly in full control of the powers of his magical bracelet.
      Making his way into the town of Absolution,Arizona Territory circa the late 1800's,he is met with less than a friendly welcome.One woman,Ella, is very interested in his presense and his unusual arm bracelet.She crudely assists in his capture,assuring herself that he will stay in town.
       The sheriff has other ideas and quickly arranges for Jake Lonergan (our stranger who has now been identified by a wanted poster) to be transported for trial for crimes he has committed with his gang of outlaws.Also being transported with Jake is Col. Woodrow Dolarhydes son who managed to shoot a citizen of the town while he was confronting Jake on his arrival into town.The rough hewn Col. Dolarhyde is none too pleased that his iron grip on the town is being challenged and his son has been placed in a paddy wagon to be transported for trial with Jake.
     Suddenly the aliens arrive in strange flying craft,blasting town buildings and citizens with powerful light beams and lassoing some citizens to be hauled to their secret lair.Six shooters and rifles have little effect on the "demon" interlopers and it is only when Jake escapes the paddy wagon after a light beam blasts a hole in it that we see the true power of the bracelet as he takes aim with it,blasting alien craft from the sky.
     The importance of Jake and his non-removable bracelet is instantly apparent to the townsfolk and to Col. Dolarhyde whose son has been lassoed by the "demons." Soon the townsfolk,Col. Dolarhyde and his men,Jake,and the mysterious loner Ella set off to locate the aliens and rescue their people.As you can see the story has already become quite complex and this seems to slow the pace of the movie.
     The complexity grows as the group encounters Jake's old gang of outlaws and a tribe of Indians while enroute to their encounter with the aliens.They ultimately must work together to rid the world of these gruesome creatures.What have the creatures come for ? Ella knows and you will too if you see the movie.
     I think that a significant weak point of the script is that the aliens have no apparent leader and they seem to be more like an ant colony than an alien civilization.I'll elaborate on this notion a bit and give an example of why an antagonistic face to the threat of an enemy coalesces story form.Think of the movie "Star Wars." What would The Empire be without Darth Vader ?
     So our story moves toward conclusion, abeit slowly,  having lost energy dragging around flashbacks and backstory like a literary ball and chain.A good start,a muddy middle and a somewhat lackluster end make this mega million effort less than it could have been.I give it a C.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Captain America:The First Avenger

Directed by-Joe Johnston

Chris Evans--Steve Rogers/Captain America
Hayley Atwell--Peggy Carter
Tommy Lee Jones--Colonel Chester Phillips
Hugo Weaving--Johann Schmidt/Red Skull

     Captain America shoots straight;both the character himself and the story line.Good and evil are clearly defined in this comic book inspired sci/fi,action film.I wondered how yet another film based on a comic book would be of any reasonable interest to movie goers but I must say I was pleasantly surprised.The story and characters are simple but the execution of the story maintains a pleasant and interesting pace that draws us into the quest of our characters and holds our interest.
     This movie is a period piece that introduces us to the origin of Captain America.The conflict of World War II serves as the historic backdrop to produce soldiers of enhanced capability as America looks for an edge to win the war.A program to produce super soldiers is developed but of course intrigue beyond the mere implementation of the program leads to the singular being who is Captain America.
     As the story unfolds,it is of course,inevitable that Captain America encounter a villain of capabilities to suitably challenge his presence.This is provided in the German counterpart of  Captain America, Colonel Schmidt AKA Red Skull.
     Despite initially being relegrated to the status of a recruitment tool,Captain America's sense of duty eventually must bring him into the ultimate confrontation with Red Skull and his minions of doom.
      Romance with Peggy Carter and a bit of friction between Captain America and the commander of the disbanded super soldier program,Colonel Phillips,round out the story.
       I saw this movie in 2D but it is obvious that some of the scenes were filmed for maximum 3D effect.The movie is available in 3D at many theaters.
       The movie is rated PG-13 due to some scenes of violence but I think it is OK for most young people to see.The movie portrays America and Americans in a positive manner; a sentiment not often seen in many recent Hollywood offerings.
        I give this movie a B.Pretty good for a movie based on a comic book character.