Day 365: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

startrekii_spotlightIn any other normal year, this would essentially be the last film of the challenge, but thanks to the leap year, we have one more film after this. After watching Star Trek Into Darkness and being introduced to the character of Khan, I wanted to make sure that I watch the original film that featured Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Things have changed around the Starship Enterprise and it starts with Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) who is having a midlife crisis because of the job change. While on a routine inspection, Kirk is forced to retake his place in the captain’s chair when an old familiar foe by the name of Khan (Ricardo Montalban) resurfaces and threatens to steal a project called Genesis that could turn into the ultimate weapon. The film also stars Leonard Nimoy (Mission: Impossible) as Spock, DeForest Kelley (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) as McCoy, James Doohan (Loaded Weapon 1) as Scotty, Walter Koenig (Star Trek) as Chekov, George Takei (Kubo And The Two Strings) as Sulu, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek: The Animated Series) as Uhura, Bibi Besch (Tremors) as Carol, Merritt Butrick (Fright Night Part 2) as David, Paul Winfield (Mars Attacks) as Terrell, Kirstie Alley (Cheers) as Saavik, Ike Eisenmann (Escape To Witch Mountain) as Preston, and the film was directed by Nicholas Meyer (Time After Time). 

the_wrath_of_khanThere is this one scene in the film that is just very uncomfortable to watch because you are imagining the agony they are going through. The scene I am talking about of course is the creature that crawls into Chekov and Terrell’s ear in the beginning courtesy of Khan. Ricardo Montalban was great as Khan, but I feel that it’s in the scale of the 1980’s. What I mean by that is that it wouldn’t work today because much like William Shatner it’s a little over the top. He is trying to squeeze the performance of a lifetime into his role as a sci-fi villain. I say what I say about Shatner, but to be honest I couldn’t see anyone other than Chris Pine play Captain Kirk as well. I liked the story of the film a lot because not only was Kirk faced with the major problem known as Khan, but we also discover something else from his past that showcases that playboy lifestyle that he has. I thought it was a good touch to the film and showed us why he was so interested in finding Carol. The ending of the film definitely set you up for another film, but there isn’t enough days in the year to explore anymore. The cinematography was pretty decent especially for 1982. It was a definite step up from the first film which was too cheesy and is why I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

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Day 359: Passengers (2016)

fd_pass_620x350_mlp_v1_lgThe finish line is so close at this point and I can see it which is super exciting as the challenge comes to a close soon. When I saw the trailer for today’s film Passengers, I thought that this film could either be a 2001: A Space Odyssey rip off or it could carve it’s own way into the annals of Sci-Fi greatness. Nevertheless, I chose to watch it for today’s film cause it features a couple of superstars in my opinion. There are always issues that are raised with the planet Earth like pollution or over population that we are always imagining if we could inhabit other worlds. That is why the Starship Avalon is on a 120 year journey through space to inhabit a new world known as Homestead II and all of it’s passengers are in a deep hibernation sleep. That is until Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) who plays passenger Jim Preston is woken up 90 years too early. With 90 years ahead of you what are you to do, well you try to enjoy it and that is what he attempts to do with fellow awoken passenger Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) until problems with the shop become evident which could derail the journey all together. The film also stars Michael Sheen (Nocturnal Animals) as Arthur, Laurence Fishburne (Mystic River) as Gus Mancuso, and the film was directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game).

passengersSpoiler Alert: There is going to be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away some details or all the details in the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. You are probably why I didn’t list a lot of actors above and that is because while the film does list Andy Garcia, Julee Cerda, and some others, they are merely just cameo appearances compared to the work that Pratt, Sheen, Lawrence, and Fishburne put in. As I said above, I thought this was going to be the modern day 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it really wasn’t because it was it’s own film. If you are alone on a ship and you have 90 years to go before you land on a new planet (which you obviously won’t be alive to see), what are you going to do with the time? That is the exact question that Chris Pratt’s character is faced with and he makes a very difficult and selfish decision, but it creates one of the big turning point conflicts in the script besides the ship’s problems. The ending of the film is very cliche in how it ends which is my only complaint. It’s one of those endings that you are hoping for something different, but they give you the one you expected all along. Otherwise, the acting was great in where two actors were really able to hold your attention for the whole film which can be just as difficult as only one. Check this one in theaters now, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade. 

Day 347: The Hunger Games (2012)

hungergamesposterI have never really been into films or film series that were based on teen book series like Twilight and so many more. Nonetheless, I thought that for the sake of this challenge that I would change my mind. So, I did that and for today’s film I watched The Hunger Games. In the world of Panem, there was once an uprising against the government, but when it became time for peace, an agreement was made and The Hunger Games was born. Every district has to give up one male and one woman who will compete in a game to the death that is televised. Afraid that her sister wouldn’t survive, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers herself into the competition, but she’ll have to learn to play the game if she wants to survive. The film also stars Stanley Tucci (Jury Duty) as Caesar Flickerman, Wes Bentley (American Beauty) as Seneca Crane, Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie) as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as Haymitch, Josh Hutcherson (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) as Peeta, Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Claudius Templesmith, Alexander Ludwig (Lone Survivor) as Cato, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2) as Gale Hawthorne, Donald Sutherland (MASH) as President Snow, Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, and the film was directed by Gary Ross (Big).

mv5bmtm0njq4otgynv5bml5banbnxkftztcwotu2mzq4nw-_v1_There is something to be said about these films that are taken from popular teen books because I enjoyed watching the Harry Potter films I watched and I even enjoyed this one. There catchy and when turned into films with great actors involved in it then they actually work. I liked the story of the film and I really liked the premise of it, but I did think it was a little log for my liking. The actual battle scenes are very cool, but there are points in the story that I could have done without. I do however understand that the scenes I could have done without were definitely needed for the drama aspect of the film. I thought the acting for the most part in the film was really good from everyone like Harrelson, Banks, Tucci, and Lawrence to name a few. The sets and costumes for the film were awesome and the way some of the people in the Capitol looked interesting. The film has an interesting concept of how the government controls everything from lack of food to how everyone must conform to their rules. It could kind of reflect certain societies for sure. Governments are always trying to figure out ways to control everything and this is definitely reflected in this one. I’m not completely positive if you’ll get another Hunger Games film for the challenge, but I’ll definitely check out the rest of the series. I a going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 321: The Ultimate Warrior (1975)

the-ultimate-warriorFor this week’s Ass Whoopin Wednesdays film, I wanted to do something a little different and lately I have become a huge fan of the legendary Yul Brynner (The Magnificent Seven). So, I decided that I was going to cover one of his films in The Ultimate Warrior (no not the wrestler) for this week’s film. It’s 2012 A.D. and the world has gone post apocalyptic where gangs are now running the streets and you have to be careful when venturing out or you’ll die for the clothes on your back. One leader of a peaceful gang called the Baron (Max von Sydow) hires a fearless fighter by the name of Carson (Brynner). Carson agrees to help the Baron lead his people to a place where there is no more violence, but a familiar enemy in the area could prove to be monkey wrench in their plans. The film also stars Joanna Miles (The Glass Menagerie) as Melinda, William Smith (Any Which Way You Can) as Carrot, Richard Kelton (A Guide For The Married Woman) as Cal, Stephen McHattie (A History Of Violence) as Robert, Mel Novak (Game Of Death) as Lippert, Darrell Zwerling (Chinatown) as Silas, Lane Bradbury (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) as Barrie, and the film was directed by Robert Clouse (Enter The Dragon). To see the rest of the review, please click here to go to Moshpits and Movies.

Day 317: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

close_encounters_of_the_third_kind_1977_theatrical_posterI thought since I checked out the new sci-fi sensation Arrival yesterday that I would check out a real sci-fi classic for today. A friend suggested that I watch Close Encounters Of The Third Kind which was directed by Steven Spielberg (E.T.the Extra-Terrestrial) and it so happens to be today’s film. Everything is normal around the country until planes that went missing in the 1950’s mysteriously show up looking like they were brand new. It sets off a chain reaction of events where people around Indiana and other parts of the country come in contact or experience an encounter with UFO’s. One man named Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) and Jillian (Melinda Dillon) whose son was kidnapped want answers as to what it was they saw and why the government is lying about the events. They may just get the answer, but it might be more than they were looking for. The film also stars François Truffaut (Shoot The Piano Player) as Lacombe, Teri Garr (Young Frankenstein) as Ronnie Neary, Bob Balaban (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as David Laughlin, J. Patrick McNamara (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) as Project Leader, Lance Henriksen (The Terminator) as Robert, George DiCenzo (She-Ra: Princess Of Power) as Major Benchley, and Carl Weathers (Rocky) as Soldier. 

closeencounters15657One thing that I will say is that the soundtrack to this film is absolutely amazing and we shouldn’t be surprised by that considering John Williams (Star Wars) composed the whole thing. The score did exactly what it was supposed to do and that it is it helped move the film and it complimented it. Now as far as the film was concerned, this is actually an amazing motion picture especially for it’s time. Of course the film was overshadowed by Star Wars: A New Hope, but it deserves some mention and merit because the special effects were great for 1977. The aliens that you see in the film were kind of weird looking and OK, but it does the trick for the time. The shots of the spaceship are awesome and it’s incredible looking. The acting in the film was great especially from Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon who stole the show. Carl Weathers has a cool cameo as a soldier in the film who threatens Drefuss’s character and a lot of 80’s greats are in this film like Lance Henriksen, etc. Just like in the Arrival, they too have to learn the language of the aliens in order to communicate with them, but this was a better film. The end kind of made sense because you understood why and such. It wasn’t a huge build up to be let down by what the end result was. If you’re a fan of cinema then definitely give this one a watch because I loved it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 316: Arrival (2016)

arrival_hkEvery now and again a good sci-fi film is always in order and it seems that every year a critical acclaimed one comes out. Then there re those films that garner so much buzz because of a 100% (97 at the moment) rating on Rotten Tomatoes like today’s film in the Arrival. Louise Baker (Man Of Steel’s Amy Adams) is a Linguistics professor at a local college whose life is ordinary until they show up. When I say they, I mean these 12 strange alien pods that appear in 12 different locations around the world. Naturally, the first thing we want to do is find out why they are here and if they want to destroy us. So, Louise will lead a team an elite team of investigators with her into the ships to try and figure out their language in order to try and communicate with them. The film also stars Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ian Donnelly, Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Halpern, Forrest Whitaker (Taken 3) as Colonel Weber, Tzi Ma (The Ladykillers) as General Shang, Mark O’Brien (The Last Tycoon) as Captain Marks, Abigail Pniowsky  (Channel Zero) as Eight Year Old Hannah, Max Walker (I’m Not There) as Private Miller, and the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario). 

arrival-movie-4-e1471529984165Spoiler Alert: There may be information contained in this Article that could potentially spoil the plot of the film so continue with caution or do not read any further if you do not want to know. This is one of those films that you may leave the theater either wondering how it received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes or what the hell just happened? The whole film they are trying to figure out why they are here and we are watching as she decodes the language. They eventually get to a point where the Aliens have told them that they have given them a weapon or a gift. Now they and you are wondering just what is the weapon or gift that they are speaking of? When it hits you eventually at the end, you are like what kind of gift is that and why is she the only one to receive it? You are also led to believe in the film that she has had a daughter and she passed away, but this gift she receives at the end will distort what is reality at this point. I left the theater confused with all of these questions and that kind of bothered me because I was really enjoying the film up to that point. The cinematography is incredible and the way they mess with your depth perception at one point with the cameras is killer. Amy Adams is masterful in the film as well as all the others in it and it’s a pretty good story. It’s just that the ending is a little confusing and doesn’t make any sense to me. This may be one of those films that you may have to see twice. The aliens were OK looking as they looked giant octopuses with hand like tentacles, but they look like a human hand pretending that there hand is a creature walking. This is a tough one to grade because of the fact that while I enjoyed it, the ending bothered me. Therefore, I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade right now unless I change my mind.

Day 249: Akira (1988)

akiraI have been doing this for 248 days before today and I realized that I have watched all sorts of films like horror, comedy action, martial arts, animated films, but I have never watched a Japanese Anime film. That is why for today, I chose to watch the film Akira which was released in 1988. In 1988, Tokyo as we know it was destroyed by a psychic by the name of Akira. 30 years later in Neo-Tokyo, scientists are still trying to figure out the psychics and what gives them their power. Meanwhile, Neo-Tokyo is in ever growing distress and people are becoming restless. One revolutionary group tries to break out one of the psychics, but it backfires when he transfers powers to a bike gang kid who goes a little violent when the powers start to manifest. Now three psychic children and one of the biker gang kids friends will have to stop him before it’s too late. The film stars Mitsuo Iwata (Golden Boy) as Kaneda, Nozomu Sasaki (Bubblegum Crisis) as Tetsuo, Mami Koyama (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils) as Kei, Tesshô Genda (Ghost In The Shell) as Ryu, Hiroshi Ôtake (Speed Racer) as Nezu, Yuriko Fuchizaki (Oh My Goddess!) as Kaori, and the film was written and directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Metropolis). 

akira 2I am not going to lie and say that I love Japanese Anime because I never really paid much attention to them. I am however going to say that I really enjoyed watching the film even though I was trying to figure out what Akira is exactly. All I know is when that dude shows up, nothing good comes from it, but total destruction which is why I can see why people want to prevent it. One of the things I loved about this film the most is the fact that it’s a very well written story and it’s executed on your screen. Here is this kid whose been picked on or he may not be the most popular member of the gang who finally gets some powers that allows him to mess people up. What would you do with them? Yeah, you would mess some people up because you can. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Tetsuo is in his room and he is visited by the three little psychic kids, but they came in the form of giant stuffed animal toys to try and freak him out. They know exactly how dangerous he is and they want to prevent him from harnessing the powers. The animation is not like what we typically see from Japanese anime because this one is very similar to that of Heavy Metal, but improved. You could even compare it to Titan A.E. if you really wanted to as far as what the animation looks like. I really did enjoy watching this film and I’m glad I took the time to watch it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 224: Midnight Special (2016)

MIDNIGHT-SPECIAL-QUADThis wasn’t really on the list of must see films that I made up the other day, but I remember a friend of mine strongly recommended the film. The film that I am talking about is the Sci-Fi movie Midnight Special which was released earlier in the year and it was available via Redbox. Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) is a very special eight year old boy with very special powers that one side believes that he is the messiah while another side believes that he is a dangerous weapon. Roy (Michael Shannon) believes that his son is special too and will do anything that it takes to get him to where he needs to go before either the cult or the FBI gets to him. The film also stars Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods And Kings) as Lucas, Kirsten Dunst (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) as Sarah, Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Sevier, Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down) as Calvin Meyer, Bill Camp (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) as Doak, Scott Haze (The Sound and the Fury) as Levi, Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Miller, David Jensen (Ocean’s Eleven) as Elden, and the film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud).

midnight-special-022-featuredThe thing I loved most about the film was the actual story itself because for the most part you’re wondering what is this kid? Is he human, mutant, or alien? For the most part, you don’t really know what he is and they don’t really tell you for most of the film. Then there is the human element of the film where there are people that truly believe in this child’s ability that they will go all out for him. One thing that I did want to comment on is that the filmmakers make Kirsten Dunst look old (I don’t mean super old) in the film which just amazed me. She actually looked like someone in her mid to late 30’s in the film, but for the time she is on screen she does a great job. The real MVP of the film besides Jaeden is Michael Shannon who plays the father that will do whatever it takes to protect his son and get him to the destination no matter the cost. I have to be honest in saying that there really isn’t a bad performance from anyone in the film. Everybody knows their role and they play it right like Adam Driver who is the NSA agent who just thinks all of this is cool. The special effects are very cool especially the scene with the satellite crashing to Earth was cool. The film definitely asks the age old question of are we really alone in the universe? Is there other life forms somewhere we don’t know? If you are a fan of Sci-Fi movies then you owe it to yourself to at least check this one out. I am going to give Midnight Special an A- for a final grade.

Day 205: Titan A.E. (2000)

titan aeHaven’t you ever wondered if there was life in other planets or galaxies? What if I was to tell you that 1000 plus years into the future that Earth has mastered the art of deep space travel and that we have interacted with several different species. Your mind would be blown and that is the case for the film Titan A.E.. For Cale (Matt Damon) life is a little different because his father had been working on a project called Project Titan. When a certain alien race known as the Drej caught wind of this, they destroyed the planet Earth. Fast forward fifteen years into the future, Cale is working on a scavenger ship when he is told that he may hold the key to finding Project Titan which could potentially save the human race from the evil Drej. So, he takes on the mission which will prove to be far from easy. The film also stars Bill Pullman (Independence Day) as Captain Joseph Korso, Drew Barrymore (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial) as Akima, John Leguizamo (Ice Age) as Gune, Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) as Preed, Janeane Garofalo (Mystery Men) as Stith, Tone Loc (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) as Tek, Ron Pearlman (Hellboy) as Professor Sam Tucker, and the film was directed by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and Art Vitello.

titan-a-e-ae-caleSpoiler Alert: Before you continue to read on, please be advised that this paragraph may contain spoilers. Proceed with caution. I love these kinds of animated films because it reminds me a lot of Heavy Metal and many others like it. While it could be predictable at times, Titan A.E. was actually a very fun film to watch with a very good story. That was my favorite part of the whole film was the fact that I loved the story. Imagine that the key to saving the human race is in a ring that some kid has been carrying for a while and had no idea his father put it on his finger. The only reason why I said that the film could be predictable at times was because you could tell right from the start that Cale and Akima were going to be a thing in the film. You knew that they were going to be double crossed at some point in the film and that happened twice. Like I said, that didn’t deter me from continuing on. The key to great acting in an animated film is making sure that they convey the proper emotions and you do it right. I would like to think that all of them did a great job throughout the film especially comedian Jim Breuer who plays a cook in the film (I didn’t know he did). I did love the enemy alien race who are made of energy. The one thing that kind of caught my attention about them was the fact that they are treated like they are the enemy, but I believe someone int he film mentioned something vital. They mentioned that they destroyed Earth because they were afraid that the humans were creating something dangerous. That doesn’t make what they did OK, but fear is the mind killer. If you’re a fan of science fiction based action adventure animated films, then I would definitely suggest checking this one out. I am going to give the film an A- for  final grade.

Day 200: Alien (1979)

alienBelieve it or not, I was never a huge fan of science fiction films growing up as a kid and in fact I preferred horror movies over them. With all the talk of a new Alien film, I figured what better time than now to see all the films in the franchise and start with the film Alien. A space merchant vessel known as the Nostromo is heading back to Earth after a routine pick up of whatever the cargo is. The crew is nice and asleep in their pods during the long and strenuous travel when they are awoken by MOTHER which is the ships computer. They discover that there is a distress signal from somewhere in space and protocol says that they have to investigate. After investigating the call, one of the crew members is attacked by something and they bring aboard a master alien specie that is takes no prisoners. The crew has to figure out a way to get safely home and away from the alien before it’s too late. The film stars Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Dallas, Sigourney Weaver (1492: Conquest Of Paradise) as Ripley, Veronica Cartwright (The Witches Of Eastwick) as Lambert, Harry Dean Stanton (The Green Mile) as Brett, John Hurt (Hellboy) as Kane, Ian Holm (The Fifth Element) as Ash, Yaphet Kotto (The Running Man) as Parker, Bolaji Badejo as the Alien, and the film was directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner).

alien 1So, I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how much I really liked the film. One thing I noticed about spaceships in space carrying humans and that is all of them are run by a computer that malfunctions. For example in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Hal 9000 runs the ship and basically kills everyone while MOTHER runs the ship in Alien and she’s not very helpful.  Humans will never learn throughout time that we should never trust a computer. Nevertheless, the computer in this film is obviously the least of their troubles as they are being chased around and killed by an amazing H.R. Giger designed Alien. Now that is a pretty scary scenario if you ask me, but the beauty of the film wasn’t how much you saw the alien, it was where the hell was he. The film gave you that Jaws effect where you are wondering where on this creepy ship is that scary alien. When it’s time to go, they give you the alien on the ship. The film contained a small cast, but this cast is as brilliant as it gets with the likes of John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, etc. As I said above, I was never a huge fan of Sci-Fi films so I avoided watching these, but I am glad that I started because it has a brilliant story and sets. The cinematography and the editing of the film is also a strong point for the film. That is why I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.