Feb 252012
 

Director:  Zack Snyder

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 110 minutes

Release Date: 3/25/2011

Genre:  Action Adventure

Cast: Babydoll(Emily Browning), Amber(Jamie Chung), Sweet Pea(Abby Cornish), Blondie(Vanessa Hudgens), Rocket(Jenna Malone), Stepfather(Gerard Plunkett), Dr Gorsky (Carla Garski), Blue Jones(Oscar Isaac), High Roller/Doctor(John Hamm),  and Wise Man(Scott Glenn)

Synopsis:  Sucker Punch begins with a 20 year old girl,Babydoll(Emily Browning), struggling with her abusive stepfather(Gerard Plunkett) and her sister accidentally being killed.  Fearing he will be implicated in the murder and past abuse will be uncovered, her stepfather takes her to a mental hospital to be locked up and he bribes a crooked orderly, Blue Jones(Oscar Isaac), to put her on the fast track to getting a lobotomy. Babydoll soon realizes that she must escape the hospital and enlists the help of other inmates, but then has a break with reality and imagines that she and Amber(Jamie Chung), Sweet Pea ( Abby Cornish), Blondie(Vanessa Hudgens), and Rocket(Jenna Malone) are all dancers in a brothel.

Each time that Babydoll must dance in the brothel she halucinates another reality  Initially, she imagines that she is in a Japanese temple where she is  given weapons and quest to find five items by the Wise Man(Scott Glenn) and then she fights 3 demonic giant Samurai.  After she defeats the Samurai, she is transported back to the Brothel and everyone is impressed with the dance she just completed.  She has several more episodes that include; zombies, dragons, and defusing bombs, each one more vivid and stylized than the last, reminding the viewer that the director, Zack Snyder, also directed 300 and Watchmen.

Once she finally gets all of the needed objects, she is able to attempt her escape along with Sweat Pea.  Both may be able to escape, but it might not be how the view expects.

Pro:  Sucker Punch is a very visually impressive movie and the soundtrack is pretty good too.  The best parts were;

  • The first fight against the giant Samurai golems accented by the remix of Bjork’s “Army of Me” and the impressive sight of the temple being knocked down.
  • The WWI flashback scene reminded me of a combination of the old pc game Crimson Skies with a healthy dose of steampunk and zombies thrown in and included a great remix of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”.
  • Jenna Malone was good in the movie Saved! and I think she was also one of the better actresses in this film.

Con: I think that while the movie was nice to look at and had great music it was lacking in plot and more like a disconnected series of music videos.  It did not go into great detail explaining why Babydoll was having all of the hallucinations and why she was having hallucinations within her hallucinations.  I would have also liked some more details of her life before the movie starts.

It was also strange that they never really showed Babydoll dancing, she would always shift into a deeper fantasy when the dances went beyond undulating. Then she was just shooting monsters for a bit and then back to the brothel world where everyone was amazed with her dancing ability.

Conclusion: When I saw the tv commercials for this film I was really excited to see it because it looked like a really good fantasy-adventure, but once I saw the movie I was disappointed with it.  I thought that it could have done without the brothel aspects of the movie, not because it was dirty too sexy, but because they were boring and took away from the action aspects of the film.  The movie was trying to convey some sort of grand message in the end, but I really couldn’t find it and I wouldn’t recommend this movie and would not watch it again,  but I might buy the soundtrack!

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 2
Story 2
Special Effects 4
Would Watch Again? 1
Average 2.5
Feb 232012
 

Director:  Jonathan Liebsman

Rating:  PG-13

Running Time: 1hr 56 m

Release Date: 3/11/11

Genre:  Science Fiction

Cast:  SSgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart),USMC 2ndLt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), USMC Cpl. Lee “Cowboy” (Imlay Will Rothhaar),USMC Cpl. Jason “Cocheez” Lockett (Cory Hardrict) ,USMC LCpl. Peter J. “Irish” Kerns (Jim Parrack) ,USMC Cpl. Nick C. “Stavs” Stavrou (Gino Anthony Pesi) ,USAF TSgt. Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez)

When a freak meteor storm turns into a full blown alien invasion,  retiring SSgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) must  help a newly placed officer, 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) fight the aliens with the marines of  1st Platoon. They must protect civilians and find a way to defeat the Alien menace.  Along the way they pick up new tactics and get the help of some National Guardsmen and USAF TSgt. Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez).

The film does a good job at showing the chaos and total destruction an alien invasion would bring upon a densely populated city like LA.  It had great special effects showing the unique alien artillery and the first time people see the aliens coming out of the ocean. I also really liked the way that 2ndLt, Martinez looses his cool at one point and the veteran SSgt. Nantz must bring him back to reality and focus on keeping his men alive.

The way that the alien aircraft flew is also really unique.  They were non-aerodynamic heavy objects that were constantly almost falling, but a thruster would fire to counteract gravity’s pull and the all of the thrusters firing sounded like a high performance race car’s engine. It made the invaders seem like they weren’t so far ahead of us technologically after all.  I wonder if they writers wanted to show how the US military would handle and enemy that was as advanced over them as the US is over other places they have fought recently.  When confronted with more advanced technology, the Marines had to take a less straight forward stance and relied more on things like hiding and even  a suicide bomber.

At times the film was like a video game and the characterization was not very strong.  I had a hard time telling individual Marine’s apart. That might have to do with the uniforms and military speech, but usually I don’t have this problem with other military oriented films.

I had a few nit-picky issues with the film.  At one point there was a four legged mortar/missile  robot, and it seemed a bit pointless.  The thing took so long to fire and was so random with the things it shot at.  I don’t think it would have lasted long in real live, but I guess it looked pretty cool when it fired.  In so many movies with Aliens, the aliens take a basic humanoid shape with a head, 2 arms, and 2 legs and to me it just seems that the chances of this would not be very likely if they developed on an alien planet.  Even though the aliens have some sort of strange non humanoid biology, like a mashed up squid, they still are pretty much humanoid when they are wearing their battle gear.  That doesn’t make much sense to me.  There is also a scene where the Marines are riding in a huge bus and it takes forever for them to get attacked even though they are the only thing driving around for miles and they were just previously surrounded by aliens.  I just don’t find that plausible.

“Battle: Los Angeles” is an ok film with a few memorable scenes, but there were some problems with the portrayal of the aliens and there was very little memorable dialogue.  I would recommend this film if you don’t have anything better to watch and don’t have any 1st person shooters to play.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 2
Story 3
Special Effects 4
Would Watch Again? 2
Average 2.75
Feb 172012
 

Director:  Corey Yuen

Rating:  PG-13

Running Time: 1hr 27 minutes

Release Date: 9/7/2006

Genre:  Action Adventure, Video Game, Martial Arts, Fighting

Cast:  : Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressly), Christie Allen (Holly Valance), Kasumi (Devon Aoki), Ayane (Natassia Malthe) and Helena Douglas (Sarah Carter).

Synopsis: The movie,  DOA: Dead or Alive  is based on the best selling video game of the same name.  The plot is similar to other movies based on fighting games, like Mortal Kombat or Tekken.  The best fighters from around the world are picked to go to a remote location to fight to see who is the top fighter, but his movie is slightly different because the protagonists are all very good looking women.  So instead of only having slow motion shots of people punching and kicking, there are many slow motion shots of scantily clad ladies playing volleyball and sunning themselves on yachts.

Review: I wasn’t expecting much when I started watching DOA, but the story flowed smoothly and  there were some entertaining fight scenes.  One of the best fight’s takes place in the beginning during the introduction of Christie (Holly Vance).   She is suspected diamond theif and the police have tracked her to a Hong Kong hotel room and as she is coming out of the shower, they barge into the room and a huge fight ensues.  I’m pretty sure the director used a liberal amount of  CGI to prevent the censers from giving the movie higher than a PG-13 rating.

Since I have been accused of having nerd-like tendencies in the past, it was nice to see that the computer nerd character, Weatherby fall in love with the good looking fighter, Helena (Sarah Carter). and that he was really weak compared to her.   The movie also passes the Bechdel test in that; there are at least two named female characters, who talk to each other about something other than a man,but it probably doesn’t meet the spirit of that test.

Rarely does the movie make the viewer forget that it is just a typical video game fight with the same cliche characters but with female leads, but it was still entertaining and seemed to surpass movies like Mortal Kombat in that it has better special effects and doesn’t stray as far away from the games plotline.  In the end it is a light hearted movie with good looking women and men fighting each other, what could be better?

 

 

 

 


Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 2
Story 2
Special Effects 4
Would Watch Again? 4
Average  3