Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Heath goes to the movies "The Purge" by Heath Chase

Once again another movie that I had extreme expectations for is here and once again I’m finding that Hollywood is not living up to those expectations. The trailer for “The Purge” was and still is one of the most captivating trailers I have ever seen in my life and its premise is one that I found to be top notch. But with mediocre execution and unnecessary plot points, “The Purge” flops in many places and becomes just another average thriller with an incredibly original idea.

“The Purge” focuses on a near future America where everyday life has become a peaceful and productive function.  There is barely any unemployment, the economy is striving and crime is at an all-time low…save for one exception. The Purge is an event held once a year which allows people to “cleanse themselves” and release the hatred they have built inside them for one night and one night alone. During this night, crime is legal, anything goes, even murder. Our story focuses on the Sandins, a wealthy family that does not partake in The Purge but does support it full heartedly. After a helpless stranger is let into their well-guarded house by one of the two children, they find themselves in the middle of a cat-and-mouse chase when a group of intimidating masked people threaten to kill them all.

Dystopian societies in fiction have always interested me greatly and this premise set up a very frightening reality that isn’t too far-out to be shrugged off. Although it does not pan out in a “realistic” way like I wanted it to, there is still some fun to be had and I will say that the film was very unnerving. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey were the films two main protagonists and they pulled off their performances very well, but some of the writing held them back from their true potential.  And yes, the children in this film will annoy you to the extreme and you will sigh at the many clich├ęd occurrences where the family decides it’s best to split up, but when it’s all said and done, the film still entertains for what it is and you’ll want to bring a couple friends just to crack at its many imperfections.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Heath goes to the movies "After Earth" by Heath Chase

My all-time favorite genre of film is survival thrillers, so when I saw the first preview for “After Earth” staring Jaden and Will Smith I knew I had to see it. I don’t know what it is about life and death and the will to survive in films that captivates me so dearly but with that said, I know that the genre is a hit or miss for the average audience. In other words, half of these movies rock, and half of these movies suck, but “After Earth” takes that grounded statement and bends it a little bit.

Right away the premise intrigued me seeing as how I have written a story along a similar guideline. Cypher Raige (Will Smith) is a hard-headed high ranking officer in the military in a future civilization where space travel exists and where Earth is no longer what we call our home. After he brings his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) along with him for a operation, they find themselves in the middle of a meteor shower which crashes them onto Earth’s forgotten surface. The crash leaves a very broken Cypher and a nearly untouched Kitai as the only survivors and it is up to Kitai to signal a beacon so they can be rescued.

So as I said, I really enjoyed the premise of this film, but with poor direction the film staggers along its some-what simple plot to its final conclusion. At a lot of times I was genuinely enjoying the journey man takes to survive in a hostile world, but then it would stutter and I would be taken right back out of it. Atmosphere is key to a sci-fi film and if it is lacking, it almost becomes pointless. This was “After Earth’s” biggest praise and biggest problem. On the plus side, the film made Earth look abandoned and forgotten with forestry taking back over the surface and I got the sense that everything wanted to eat everything—which made things quite stressful. On the flipside, things like the space ships and futuristic worlds were lacking and looked rather stale when compared to the recent film “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

In the end, I would recommend this film to anyone who was intrigued by the trailer, but if you did not like the preview you are not going to like this film. For me the positives out-weighed the negatives on this one and I can accept it for what it is, simply a fun thriller with nothing exponentially new to bring to the table.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Heath goes to the movies "Star Trek Into Darkness" by Heath Chase

I am now a Trekky. So many people have been massively moved by Star Trek since its debut in the 60’s and with J.J. Abrams taking the reins with the reboot of Star Trek back in 2009, the large fan base had something to hoot about once more. Four years later we have Star Trek Into Darkness, It outweighs its predecessor in the first scene alone and sets up, once again, a thrilling adventure for the Star-Fleet and the Enterprise.

Our story starts with a man named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch. You will despise John Harrison. It is with this man that Earth realizes they have a skilled and dangerous terrorist on their hands and sends Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew to find and bring him to justice. But this is just the beginning of a very “complicated” ride.

My favorite part of this epic movie was the evolution of Spock (Zachary Quinto). His semi-alien race keeps him from being as human as Kirk wants him to be and throughout the movie we see Spock change to not only kick some serious butt, but also become a very good friend. Other members of the crew like Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) all make awesome returns and continue to prove to be excellent characters. I felt my blood pressure rise every time John Harrison walked on screen simply because I just wanted to see him die, which I classify as good writing. They were all so much fun to watch on the big screen.

Star Trek Into Darkness was an explosive movie, and not just with literal ‘explosions’—which the special effects were amazing I might add, this movie was explosively fun and just about everything (save an annoying classic cheap trick pulled at the end) was well done and fine-tuned making the two hour run time feel like a mere hour. Go see Star Trek Into Darkness.