Rare upcoming attractions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 26, 2011 by russellsreviews

I bet some of you after seeing the Gantz review up were a little confused. You looked at every theater in your area and can’t find a single showing. Sadly the reason is that the Gantz premiere was a one night only event. I’m sure it will be on DVD soon if you missed it. I want to hook you guys up in the future so you won’t missing something that cool again. There is something cool called fathom events that show rare and hard to find movies and plays for one day only once a month. Also there is a theater company called angelika film centers that specializes in only showing rare, foreign, and independent movies like Gantz so hopefully there is one near you.

Speaking of cool movies. Next week in several cities angelika film centers will be playing for one night only Summer Wars, a great new anime classic that, like always, was terribly overlooked by the academy awards.

Be sure to keep checking in and I will try my best to give you heads up on other cool events.

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Gantz movie review

Posted in 3.5 Stars, Foreign, Horror, Japan, New Movie, Review, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2011 by russellsreviews

After the successful live-action adaptations of Death Note, Detroit Metal City, and 20th Century Boys its becoming more common for Japanese film studios to take a chance on a mature manga/anime series. Gantz is the newest one by creator Hiroya Oku. However, Gantz is a much different beast than all the others before it. Its not that the manga isn’t as deep, but it goes to some very dark and intense places for it’s characters. Does the Gantz movie pull any punches or stay true and risk loosing a broader audience?

Kei is a underachieving teenager simply waiting for his train to arrive. A drunken man stumbles and falls on the tracks and everyone, including Kei, just stares and being curious to see what happens next. The only person who decides to help turns out to be Kei’s childhood friend, Kato. With the pressure of seeing his friend, Kei drops down to help raise the drunken man back on the platform only for them to be ones crushed by the oncoming train. Kei and Kato immediately find themselves with other killed strangers in a small locked white apartment with a giant black ball in the center room. Are they really dead? Where are they? How did they get there? More importantly why are they there?

That’s as far as I want to go as a set up, because the main draw of the series for me is seeing these mysteries played out and never know whats going to happen next to the characters. From the very first time I watch the anime of Gantz I felt that the story could translate very well to the big screen and would no doubt blow the sci-fi genre craze wide open if the the action was done well. The only problem is the original Gantz goes to some disturbing limits. This will ultimately be the deciding factor if you will enjoy the film or not if your a fan. To be honest there were parts of Gantz that went to far in my opinion. I know the main character did some really nasty immature stuff and part of showing all that sex and violence was for you to see how far Kei grows as a human being, but it was borderline too far  sometimes and crossed over to being simply there for shock value and to get the very same people Kei is growing out of to watch the show. The Gantz movie rolled back the unnecessary sex and made Kei into much more likable guy from the start. Gantz might have pulled back a little too much in some areas that hurt it from being near perfect, but in this reviewer mind it also helped making it a more balanced movie. If you were one of the fans of the Gantz manga that liked it only for how messed it up it got sometimes you will feel jipped. Fans should not worry about the action side of the film. All scenes are very close to the original and are surprisingly good.

For those that know nothing of Gantz are in for a real treat. You have a lot of the fat trimmed out for a more streamlined version and are in for something totally fresh and interesting. A fair warning though. The version shown in American theaters is dubbed and dubbed very bad in some emotional scenes that did twist some powerful scenes into unintentionally funny ones. Some fans will predictably cry foul, but a lot will walk away feeling pretty satisfied and will be excited to see what the sequel might bring.

3.5 STARS

Tron Legacy Review

Posted in 2.5 Stars, New Movie, Review, Sci-Fi, video games with tags , , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by russellsreviews

The original Tron motion picture has a very special place in many peoples hearts. Tron never reached Star Wars like fandom or Blade Runner critical success, but remains a classic to this day. Tons of fans wanted a sequel, and would line up to see what the world of Tron could look like using today’s graphics. Disney is finally giving them what they wanted and betting fans will fill the seats. Can Tron Legacy live up to the hype that’s been building for over 28 years?

Tron Legacy tries its best to reconnect you to the first film and does a fairy good considering the first film came out in 1982. After years building his company Encom into the Tech giant of the world is very close to inventing something that could change the world even more.  Expect for an unknown reason he disappears abruptly, and leaves his only son Sam behind. Sam grows up never really getting to know his father other from all the stories of this computer world he always talked about making which leads him to try to harm the company that he feels that kept his Dad away from him. Shortly after this cry for help, Sam finds out from a close family friend that there is a slim chance that his Dad could be still around just hiding out in his old arcade building he used to run. Sam investigates and doesn’t find his father, but accidentally gets digitize in the very world that his dad told him stories about.

The movie does a good job shifting focus from Kevin to his son Sam, but not long after the awe and the excitement of seeing the world of Tron in 3D wears off that you start to see that Tron Legacy has been stripped of what makes the original so memorable. If you have seen any trailer for the movie then you pretty much know what almost every fight scene and plot point that’s going to happen in the first hour. The only mystery is why Kevin Flynn got trapped there. Your not shocked when Sam finds his father alive 40 minutes in because well you saw him in the first five seconds of the trailer. This development takes too much time in the first act that the movie plot would of benefited from simply the teaser trailers. The first Tron had tons of wonderment and you never knew what or who could be coming at you next in this computerize world. Yes, this being the sequel your obviously not going to have the same awe, but literally if you have see the trailer, minus a flying battle and a guest appearance of the music group daft punk, you have seen everything the movie has to offer. You have a new disc battle and light cycle to look forward to, buy both are quick and over in the first 30 minutes. The original Tron was ahead of its time handling tough topics of what could happen if computers got to powerful (which by the way Tron came out way before Terminator), what it means to be human, and makes you think about religion. Tron Legacy never goes deeper than the chase. Tron had an interesting villain that was relative and somehow made sense to be a threat in our world and the computer world. Tron legacy’s Clu was interesting concept, but never fully emotionally fleshed out besides a couple lines of meaningful dialogue at the end of the film. Not to mention that Tron, the program himself, is hugely misused. The first Tron was exactly Shakespeare either, but made most of its fans from the fantasy of what a world would be like living in the computer. So if the graphics and world lived up the movie could still work right?

Right, however in my opinion that doesn’t measure up either. The 3D really added nothing to the experience, and the world never felt realized. Tron was a little silly and campy in the graphics, but for its time it was mind blowing. It started new techniques that even creator of Pixar gives credit for helping him start CGI like graphics. Tron Legacy is very paint by the numbers graphics. You never feel like your in another world. Everything is too dark and the characters and world just look like ours just with neon lights everywhere. Legacy does nothing overly special or groundbreaking. The first movie did a better job in making you feel in a computer world and it was made 28 years ago. Clu, the villain of the film, is a CGI recreation of a young Jeff Bridges that looks good in the Tron world, but very plastic in the real one.

Tron Legacy ties into the original well at the start, but very slowly through its run time disappoints. If you have never seen the original there is still stuff to enjoy, but most you will likely be a little confused and wonder what all the hype was about. Tron Legacy isn’t necessarily a bad movie, it just hurts when you think what the movie could have been.  It could have been Terminator 2 good, instead we got Terminator 3. Its still well made and enjoyable and the new character Quorra is cool and interesting. It’s still worth seeing if you have a lot of fond memories of the original, but greatly lower your expectations and maybe wait till you can rent it and save the money.

2.5 STARS

Coming attractions!

Posted in movie trailer, Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 by russellsreviews

Capcom’s CGI moive Resident Evil: Degeneration was everything the live actions should have been. It was another example of how good things can be if it stays true to the source materiel.

Ninja Assassin was a successful attempt to combine the west and the east in a martial art movie. This movie looks like it favors more on the east side where it counts, the visual flair. This film is giving you something rarely seen, samurai and cowboys.

There is nothing else like the movie Tron. It has a visual appeal that looks groundbreaking even for today. Tron is finally getting a sequel. I for one don’t really think this movie needed to be made and since one of the things that made Tron special was the computer world and with this looking just like a typical action flick I’m a little worried. Hey, its freaking Tron so we should all give it a chance anyway right?

A remake to not just one of the best westerns ever , but its one of the best movies in any genre. This is looking like a great update. Jeff Bridges has big shoes filling in the role for the great John Wayne.

More Jack Blackness

Yeah I know me and maybe three other people in the US are looking forward to this, but the first Ultraman Zero movie was a hugely successful in Japan and pretty damn good to boot so I’m pumped that there is a sequel coming out. Don’t Judge Me! <_>

Jackie Chan can’t do some of the things he used to, but he still has that comic touch. His latest Hong Kong film (which are normally always good) has been out in the UK and should be coming over to the U.S. soon

Lots of crazy things happen in this trailer. Not sure whats going on, but it looks stylish and its done by the director who did Dawn of the Dead, 300, and watchmen so expectations are high.

A modern update to the Shakespeare play Tempest is looking good too. Even if that idiot Russell Brand is in it.

I don’t really like horror or scary movies, but I love psychological thrillers. Black Swan looks like it might get too weird, but it has promise. This film already has huge buzz around it and if the film the wrestler couldn’t get director Darren Aronofsky more recognition hopefully this film will.


I just read that Jackie Chan is going to make a third armor of the Gods movie, known as operations condor to the west. The Operation Condor movies are Jackie Chan’s take on the James Bond films. Its Chan at his best. So after leaving you with a lot to chew on I leave you with this.

Oh! Scott Pilgrim vs the world is out on DVD and Blu ray now so you have no excuse! Rent or pick up a copy!

The Social Network Review

Posted in 4 Stars, Drama, New Movie, Review with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by russellsreviews

People are always looking for the next big thing. Napster, youtube, twitter, and myspace were all huge successes one after the other. They became so big that everyone did them just because everyone was talking about them. You ever wonder how these ideas get started? Social Network is a movie about the beginnings of one of the biggest and most popular right now, Facebook.

The Social Network has a cool device working for it. Mark Zuckerburg ,the creator of Facebook, is in deposition and is being sued by several people for the rights to who created the idea of the website. The answers to the questions the lawyers ask are told through flashbacks and we get the see the excitement of how Facebook got created and just who is suing who. It’s slick style of telling the story and isn’t hard to follow for those that are worried. Finding the secrets and friends behind Zuckerburg’s life , some which are true and some not, are fun and provide enough entertainment for me to recommend this movie, but The Social Network goes even deeper and not only explains how Facebook got created in the business sense, but makes you question why it’s there in the first place.

The title of the film has a double meaning. The film is not just about how the social network site Facebook got started, but also the social network in life and the pains of it. It’s about the pressures of changing who we are and fitting in. Then lengths people go to be recognized and the costs of it to the people who are close to us. In the end it doesn’t matter how rich, popular, or smart you are we all sit back and wait for that friends request to answered.

I also have to note the performences of not only the two leads, but Justin Timberlake. He did more than acceptable job that suprised me. The Social Network is a excellent paced story of Facebook that everyone can enjoy, but beneath it all is also a deep statement of a generation.

4 STARS

Ong Bak 3 review

Posted in 3 Stars, Action, Foreign with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by russellsreviews

The final chapter in Tony Jaa’s experimental Ong Bak sequels is here. Ong Bak 2 ended in a controversial cliffhanger which might be the first a martial art movie ever to do so in my memory. That film also took a lot of fans back by change of tone, characters, and even time period. It had its problems, but it totally delivered where it counts in these films with tons of brutal creative fights that you can watch over and over. Unfortunately, with Ong Bak 3 I can’t say the same.

Ong Bak 3 starts off with the aftermath of Tien(Tony Jaa) being captured by his family murderer. He is tutored and beaten only to narrowly escape with the help of his childhood love Pim. Tien is now a crippled man and looses all hope. Tien learns from a Buddhist monk that not all is lost and there was a greater meaning to everything that has happened and there is way for him to resurrect to his pure self. An interesting concept for sure, but this rehabilitation takes up a big part of the picture and by the time he has regained himself most people might have already tuned out.

This built up would have been saved by a long fight scene but is only followed up with short but sweet ones. Tony Jaa pulls of some crazy moves, but his fight scenes work best when his fights build upon each other and don’t end quickly. The final fight with the true evil of Tien quest is great and worth repeating and isn’t as short as the other fights but somehow manages to feel less epic that Jaa’s previous films.

You can tell that Tony Jaa is putting 100% on and behind the screen. The film is shot very well and the set pieces are wonderful. Ong Bak 3 just suffers from bad pacing that makes things seem off compared to before.  I’m pretty sure most these problems are caused with Tony Jaa’s much publicized stress on the product and eagerly await his next film now that this whole thing is behind him. However , I think if you are a fan of Tony Jaa you should see this film, but if you just want to see a good martial art flick or have high expectations you are going to come away a little disappointed.

3 STARS

Prepare for Trouble

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 23, 2010 by russellsreviews

Pokémon Apokélypse! I have to give huge kudos to the people who made this trailer. Sadly, its just fan made, but hey it shows more promise and honors the source material more than resident evil, dragon ball evolution, and street fighter actual movies combined. I don’t know if they are trying to be serious or satire Pokemon or just how hollywood would make a Pokemon movie, but its awesome anyway. The way they managed to fit the famous lines from the show into it is hilarous. It’s a must see.