Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (review)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) is the recent sequel to the franchise reboot of the original Sam Raimi & Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy. Superhero fever is higher than ever, and with crazy box office numbers and summer blockbuster season fast approaching it shows no signs of slowing. Amid all this excitement it can be easy to forget that success isn't necessarily an indicator of quality, and while Amazing 2 is making an amount at the box office similar to The Winter Soldier there is a definite difference in their quality which is most apparent in the films' writing. Specifically, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't have a plot. It has several plot elements, but they're never tied together to form a central conflict.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Transcendence (review)

Transcendence (2014) is the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, the man previously responsible for the cinematography of the majority of Christopher Nolan's films from The Dark Knight to Inception. It's a big budget science fiction thriller basically operating in pre-summer blockbuster mode, and with all of these factors it was pretty highly anticipated. However, at this point it's disappointingly safe to say that the movie has flopped, making only 10% of its $100 million production budget back after the opening weekend (the primary revenue window) and less than 25% at time of publication with the movie gradually being taken out of theaters. Transcendence will not make a profit and may not even break even, and that's a problem not only for the movie itself, but for people like me who want more idea-driven science fiction.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the latest installment in Marvel's superhero megafranchise. Chronlogically it takes place after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and includes the developments which occurred in The Avengers. Aside from the eponymous hero Captain America (Chris Evans) and the new villain the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), it also features a new sidekick-type superhero called Falcon (Anthony Mackie) as well as fairly significant screen time for Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

After being unfrozen from his decades of slumber, the Captain is still adjusting to life in the future. He's got the basics of the culture under control thanks to some help from his new friends, but something evil is brewing within SHIELD and Fury and Widow seem to be withholding information from Captain. As he endeavors to uncover the truth, Captain meets Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), and suddenly pieces of the puzzle begin falling into place...

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (review)

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014) is a low budget, straight-to-video monster movie from the wonderful folks over at The Asylum Studios, and as such I obviously couldn't keep my hands off it. It's actually the third film in The Asylum's "Mega Shark vs." series, and after fighting Giant Octopus and something called Crocosaurus it's time for him to take on a man-made creation in his own image: Mecha Shark (basically a shark-shaped submarine). The movie is silly and dumb and a whole lot of fun if you go into it with the right attitude, but for me it's not quite as interesting as the studio's mockbusters.