Friday, March 30, 2018

Movie review: "Pacific Rim: Uprising." Reviewed by Daniel Kilgallaon

Runtime: 111 mins

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” is a new science-fiction/action movie and a sequel to 2013’s “Pacific Rim”. While the original film was directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”, “Pan’s Labyrinth”, and “The Shape of Water”), he only returned in the role of a producer this time around with Steven S. DeKnight helming the project.

I enjoyed the first “Pacific Rim” as a self-aware film very comfortable with its clear purpose to entertain with giant robots fighting giant monsters. These combat scenes at the center this story was perfectly paced and directed with a firm sense of scale, making for an extremely fun film experience. Following some promising trailers, I was hoping that “Uprising” would provide more colossal throw downs with a fresh story to supplement the action.

Like its predecessor, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” takes place during a future in which our planet has been invaded by giant ‘Kaiju’ monsters which emerge out of the Pacific Rim. Of course, they come to wreak absolute havoc on Earth and it is up to humanity to defend ourselves using giant ‘Jaeger’ suits.

Set in 2030, this film stars John Boyega as a young man named Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, the legendary war hero who helped defeat the Kaiju in the ‘Battle of the Breach’ from the original movie. Ten years later, the Kaiju have re-emerged, forcing Jake to lead a younger generation of Jaeger pilots to defend our world from the destructive monsters.

For an over-the-top action movie of this sort, “Uprising” certainly takes its time building up to the giant set pieces, for better or worse. While the original had fight scenes more or less sprinkled evenly throughout the run time, this movie saves a lot for the end in the form of a final act that is well constructed and absurdly entertaining. 

Unfortunately, there is some clunky storytelling present in the rest of the film and it simply didn’t flow as well as I had hoped. That being said, John Boyega delivered the same charisma he showed in the newer “Star Wars” episodes, proving that he has more than what it takes to be the lead man of a major action movie. Even though his storyline, leading a dystopian youth revolution, feels awfully familiar at times his relatable and humorous performance helped to compensate for clich├ęs. 

All in all, I wouldn’t say that “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is the next science fiction masterpiece by any means, but it has more than enough entertainment value; especially if you are a fan of robots fighting aliens.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Movie Review of “Overboard” (PG) by Gayle Plummer

1987 Comedy
Runtime: 112 minutes

I’m one of those people who tend to choose a movie by the stars in it. If I’m not familiar with the lead stars, chances are pretty good that I’m not having a look until my personal, trusted grapevine says otherwise.  

“Overboard” is a wonderfully funny movie, and it is very well done. My first reason to watch it was
Remake will be out in April
Kurt Russell. My second reason to watch it was Goldie Hawn. My third reason to watch it was Roddy McDowell, who produced it and co-stars as the butler. It is entertaining throughout and what more can you ask of a movie? 

The premise here is that Hawn plays a rich, rude, spoiled socialite snob who hires a carpenter (Russell) to re-build her closet. They of course, take a deep dislike to each other. The lines that are shooting back and forth are both very well written and very smartly delivered by these two pros - complete with body language and facial expressions that scream, “You disgust me!” Now as the plot thickens and the hatred these two have for each other escalates, she falls off her yacht; when rescued it’s discovered she’s lost her memory.  Her hubby finds out she’s been rescued - but he won’t claim her. 

This is where Russell sees his chance to pay her back for her condescending attitude and collect money she wouldn’t pay him. He claims her as his wife. He then proceeds to take her back to his dis-organized, dirty shanty type home - complete with four wild, rude, undisciplined boys.  

You may think I’ve given away the movie here but I have not. The way this fake marriage and fake motherhood scenario plays out is truly funny and it is the backbone of the movie. 

Another draw for me was knowing that in their real lives, Russell and Hawn had met a few years earlier and in fact were involved in their real life partnership when this movie was done. I always like to have some tid-bits of back-stories when I watch movies.  

There is a re-make of this movie to be released in theaters this April. I am extremely fearful about this: When the original has been done as well as this one was, I don’t hold out much hope when they attempt to do it over. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that this remake probably will not measure up. But, I guess time will tell. I do highly recommend that you see this 1987 original before you see the 2018 version - and you can be the judge. (It is available on Netflix or you can rent it.)

Friday, March 16, 2018

"The Shape of Water" - Movie Review by Gayle Plummer

Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Fiction
Runtime: 2 hrs. 3 min.
Rated: R

If you are in agreement with all of the higher powers that be, who pass out the awards for movies and if you loved this movie, you may want to stop reading this review. I get the feeling that I pretty much stand alone in my feelings about this one. However, I am still wondering why it got so many awards. The number of wins for this release is too large to list here. So yes, I am alone and I’m good with that. 
Let me start with the good things: I loved the music, the sets were visually appealing and the costumes were wonderful. The music, the visuals and the time frame (1960s) were what made me stay tuned. I spent most of the two hours admiring the set and the costumes (and waiting to be totally transported by this movie experience - which never happened).

Also, the lead characters deserved their awards, as they were totally believable and convincing.  They were the strongest factors this movie had to offer. They literally did wonders with what they had to work with. Of course, I am totally devoted to Octavia Spencer and went to this movie only because she was in it. (Plus I was asked to go by a family member. They owe me big time.)

The not-so-good things: This plot has been done and done and redone in “Beauty and the Beast”, “Splash”, “King Kong” - even going as far back as “Mighty Joe Young”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love old stuff being redone and made better. This was not better. The others all owned a certain charm that this one was definitely lacking and my feeling is that the mood was too dark here. Also, we all knew where this was going from the onset; thanks to all the preceding hype I realize, but also it was pretty obvious right away had we not been shown ahead of time. 

The other older movies with the same plot, built up to the attraction factor and you fell in love along with them. This one hit you in the face like a fast train. It seemed to me that they threw in some espionage and the eating of cats just to keep us awake - like somebody somewhere knew it wasn’t good enough on its own. I mean really, once you’ve told the audience what it’s all about what do you do then? Yup, throw in a few spies and a bloody pet. Oh yeah, and let’s toss in a bit of the sex-factor. I’m no prude but I’m so not clear what those particular scenes really added to this movie. Oh wait - I remember now: sell, sell, sell this not-so-great movie! 

I will admit that perhaps the rebel in me is reacting to the fact that we were all told, ahead of the release, how great this movie was. I do tend to not appreciate all the hype before a movie is out. That’s just a hard sell. Perhaps had that not happened, I would have liked this one for a little movie escape and that would have been the end of it. But nope; too much hype here and not enough movie or charm.