Category Archives: Sci Fi

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Can you hear me? I don’t want this any more! I want to call it off!

— Joel

Everybody had been talking about how great the #61 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is. I have only seen bits and pieces of the movie through the years of its release back in 2004. My greatest fear was that the movie was not gonna live up to the hype. The movie won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and it should have won a couple of more. I wish I could own this movie and watch it repeatedly.

A social awkward man, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is reeling over the break up with his tangerine-tinted girlfriend, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet). When he is venting his frustration over Clementine seemingly ignoring him to Rob and Carrie (David Cross, Jane Adams) when Rob hands Joel a card from a company called Lacuna. The card says that Clementine has had a procedure to erase Joel from her mind.

Joel is heartbroken and intrigued to see what this procedure is all about. He finds the office of Lacuna where Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wikinson) is performing the procedure of the heartbroken patients. He wants to have the procedure done as a way of getting back at Clementine for being so heartless to erase him from her mind.

The process of mind erasure is to gather all the items that remind you of the person that you are trying to have wiped from your memory so it could build a road map to which sections of the brain to target the memories. Mierzwiak’s associates from the clinic, Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Partrick (Elijah Wood) arrive at Joel’s apartment while he sleeps to begin the erasure process.

As the erasure happens, Joel is fine having the end of their relationship cleaned off. When the erasure starts going into the happiest moments of their relationship, Joel want to be able to keep the memories, because she still holds a torch for Clementine. He tries to find clever ways to hide the good Clementine inside the inner workings of his brain.

This movie is visceral and devastating to watch. Everyone knows the feeling of heartbreak and wish that there was a procedure to help erasure the bad memories out. Those bad memories are a life lessons to find out what you don’t want in the next relationship so you won’t repeat the same dating pattern. Those bad times shape you into who you are as a person and what you can give to a relationship.

People call this one of the greatest love stories of all-time. I wouldn’t go that far, but identity to the plight these characters are in. My life was on-screen. The movie was off-kilter, surreal and mind fuck. This is Charlie Kaufman we are talking about. This is his M.O.

There is one thing about this movie that I didn’t get or maybe I am reading too much into it. What happened with the relationship with Patrick? If you know what I mean, then you’ll understand. Was that a dropped plot line?

Judgment: This is a raw, beautiful, self-destructive story about love.

Rating: 9.5/10

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Children of Men (2006)

I can’t really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can’t remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what’s left to hope for?

— Theodore Faron

I have meant to watch Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of P.D. James’s novel, Children of Men. I have heard nothing but good things about this movie. It is now the 189th Film on the IMDb Top 250 Films list. It was nominated for three Oscars including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. I wondered at the end of the movie, why the hell didn’t I see this movie sooner?

The movie’s setting takes place in the dystopian world of 2027 London where the world’s population is descending into chaos after the world became infertile. The reason for the phenomenon has not been known until certain events could shed light on the plight of humanity’s survival. There is a countrywide crackdown on illegal immigrants that are brought to refugee camps.

The main person that we fellow is a former activist, Theo Faron (Clive Owen) who is working soul-sucking 9-to-5 job where he was almost killed in a bomb blast getting coffee. The world is in mourning over the death of the youngest person in world who was a little over 18. He skips out on work to visit another former activist friend of his, Jasper (Michael Caine) is a hermit living in the middle of woods growing marijuana in his house.

Jasper tells Theo about “The Human Project” which is a secret government project that could help cure the infertility in women. Theo doesn’t believe a place existed. When Theo world is rocked when he is abducted by Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Patric (Charlie Hunnam) and Ian (Paul Sharma) who are members of the Fishes, which is an underground guerrilla group that is fighting for the rights of the immigrants.

The leader of the group is actually Theo’s ex, Julian (Julianne Moore) who wants Theo to do a big favor for her. She wants Theo to get transit papers for a “fugee girl” that is trying to get out of the chaos of London. Theo is resistant to do it when Julian offers him $5,000 pounds, he reconsiders it. He goes to his cousin, Nigel (Danny Huston) to ask for the papers. All Theo could get is joint transit papers, which means that he has to go with the girl.

Julian brings Theo to the place where the girl, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) is hidden away at with her guardian, Miriam (Pam Ferris). The group, including Luke ride out to a checkpoint to get her on a boat away from the place when the car is attacked by rioters and Julian is shot. Things go from bad to worse when Theo realizes that Kee is pregnant. Now, he knows that stakes and lengths that people would go to get close to Kee and her unborn child.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of this movie because the beginning of movie was fine, but nothing exciting was happening. Then when the revelation of Kee’s pregnancy happened, I was hooked right in. It was a tense=filled ride for that time forward. I wanted characters to be all right. I was afraid when danger would come knocking on their door. I have never been so moved by an ending like I did this one.

The movie felt a lot like The Road is some respects, but this movie had hope and heart it in it. The allegories of the concentration camps, Abu Ghraib, September 11th, the war in Iraq were not lost on me. It reminded me of another movie, Blindness that I didn’t care for that much. This world felt like modern times that it eerily gave us a glimpse into a possible future. After you read this review, go and buy this movie. Watch it, experience it. You will not regret it.

Judgment: I didn’t know how could I recommend this movie highly enough?

Rating: ****1/2

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Here’s a question. Was it morally wrong for me to exploit my knowledge of the future for personal financial gain? Perhaps. Here’s another question. Do I give a fuck?

— Lou

Here is another movie that had the dreaded comparison of being the next Hangover, Hot Tub Time Machine. Now, granted, hearing that title doesn’t give you a lot of confidence about the quality of the movie. It seems very straightforward. It’s not high concept, but damn enjoyable travel back in time.

This is a story about three friends who have been estranged for years. Their lives have not faired too well with Nick (Craig Robinson), a promising musician turn is now working at a dog groomer. Adam (John Cusack) is recovering over a bad break-up with his girlfriend who takes almost all of his shit. He shares the house with his nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke) who only wants to text or play Second Life online. Lou (Rob Corddry) has the short end of the stick around this group. He is sloppy drunk who almost asphixates himself when he pulls into his garage to have his air drummer solo with the gas pedal.

Lou’s downward spiral forces the trio back together at his hospital room after so many years. Nobody in Lou’s life want anything to do with him, because he is such a slush. Nick and Adam have a plan to revisit a place they frequented when they were in college, Kodiak Valley.

When Adam decides to take Jacob along for the job, it does not sit too well with Lou, because he hates Jacob with a passion. The gang arrives at Kodiak Valley to find that it is not Partytown USA like it used to be. It is almost a ghost town with boarded up building. The Silver Peaks ski lodge doesn’t fair too well either. It smells like feline and the staff including Phil (Crispin Glover), the one-armed bellhop.

The guys check into the same room that they did twenty years ago and look around. The old friends reflect on the glory days of their youth. The hot tub suddenly glows a golden hue. They strip and pile in the tub to drink heavily. Things get Caligula flurry drunk dream in the tub when a drink short circuits the machine that transports them to 1986. Things get complicated when random occurences could threaten the future or Jacob’s existence.

I knew that this film was going to be idiotic and I accepted that. There certain instances in the movie that didn’t make sense with the mystical repairman (Chevy Chase) or how people could see Jacob even though he didn’t exist. There were some uncomfortable moments when Nick is yelling at his then-nine-year-old future wife about cheating on him or when the mystery of who Jacob’s father was revealed, I almost had to take a shower about what might have happened if certain situations happened.

The actors knew how ridiculous this movie was going to be at they even poked fun at the title of movie with Craig Robinson’s character. I enjoyed Rob Corddry. He was fucking hysterical in the movie. Anybody playing a foul-mouthed slurring booze hound would be a riot. He was lovable loser.

I thought the ending was huge cop-out. If I had a time machine, I would go back when I fucked my life up royally, but I wouldn’t because I wouldn’t learn the things I know now.

Judgment: What else can you say about a movie about a time traveling hot tub?

Rating: ***1/2

Inception (2010)

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

— Dominic Cobb

Inception is one of my most anticipated films of the summer. I was worried that this movie was hyped up too much for me to enjoy fully enjoy it. It is currently the #3 Movie of All Time on IMDb. That scares me, because the same thing happened with The Dark Knight. I did not see the theatrical trailer, read any reviews or look at the promos for this movie. I wanted to go into this movie fresh with no bias whatsoever. All I thought about when I saw this movie was making it a drinking game, hearing the word “dream” uttered.

This mind-bending movie is about how complex the human mind can truly be when an extractor Dominic Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has the ability to go into people minds. He’s sorta like a mental bodyguard that provides security for his clients’ important secrets, but he ultimately steals from them.

He is outsmarted by a shady businessman, Saito (Ken Watanabe) who wants to use Dom and his associates to penetrate the mind of his rival’s son, Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). In return for his participation, Saito will reunite Dom with the family that he abandoned when his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) kills herself to make it look like he did it.

Dom puts together his team together with his researcher that creates a dossier on their mark, Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt), his shifter to trick the subject to be any person in the dream, Eames (Tom Hardy) and the chemist who will inject the team with a special sedative that will allow them to sleep, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).

They need an architect which is essentially a person that could create and keep up the façade of delving into a person’s mind. Dom goes to his former professor; Miles (Michael Caine) to enlist a person that could be as good as him sense his memories about Mal easily distract him. Miles suggests Ariadne (Ellen Page), who is quickly tested about discerning what reality is and what is not.

On an international flight after Fischer’s father, Maurice (Pete Postlethwaite) dies, the team drugs Fischer. When the team goes into Fischer’s mind, they didn’t realize that his mind would be heavily fortified with a projected army that could threaten their mission and their only way to wake up.

What can I say about this movie? I understand that Nolan wanted to make a cinematic version of M.C. Escher painting about how the mind play tricks on you. I thought I was tricked. At first, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. When Ellen Page’s character came in, she was like the audience who is trying to understand this world she knows nothing about. The endless exposition doesn’t help matters when random characters try to tell you about the human psyche. It’s like you are sitting in a long boring lecture in college.

My brain broke with this movie. I could not follow it worth a damn. I wanted to follow along, but I got lost somewhere in the first hour of this 2 ½ hour opus. I tried to focus on Dom’s guilt over his wife’s death. That went away. Next, I tried to focus on the action with seemed like it came out of The Matrix with a tinge of a Lionel Ritchie video thrown in there. Lastly, I tried to hold on to the ending which is ambiguous and up to your personal interpretation. If you know that the ending is coming, it’s not fun.

This film is not fun or cool. If it was something like Primer about a dialogue that went over my head, but was still cool, I would understand. I was yawning in this movie. I lowered my expectations with this movie because of the hype that The Prestige got and I hated that movie. I think this movie tried to be too ambitious. I got nothing out of it.

The whole idea of going into people’s minds sounds good on paper, but onscreen you’re like, “Who gives a fuck about the different levels of the mind.” The whole reasoning behind the inception mission was petty and selfish. I believe Christopher Nolan created this movie for himself to enjoy. It seems that he has to dumb it down for the audience with endless amounts of exposition. It seems arrogant and condescending. I’m insulted by the notion. I expected more.

Judgment: This movie is like a Rubik Cube that never gets solved. Don’t bother trying.

Rating: **

Predators (2010)

They can hear you. Smell you. They see you.

— Noland

It has been a while since I have seen the first Predator movie. It freaked me out with that Rastafarian alien with the jacked up grill. I did not see the sequel with Danny Glover. Now, the sequel cleverly titled Predators has come out with Adrien Brody and Topher Grace as the leads. I thought, really? They are not the bad ass motherfuckers that could kick serious ass. After watching the movie, I might have to eat crow.

A former Special Force soldier, Royce (Brody) wakes up during a free fall into the jungle below. When he lands, he unceremoniously welcomed by a drug cartel dealer, Cuchillo (Danny Trejo) who thinks that he is a spy. The duo is suddenly under attack by machine gun fire by a Russian Spetsnaz soldier, Nikolai (Oleg Taktarov). They find more people that have survived the drop like IDF black ops sniper,  Isabelle (Alice Braga), RUF officer, Mombasa (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), Death Row inmate, Stans (Walton Goggins), Yakuza enforcer, Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien), and odd man out, Dr. Edwin (Grace).

They are confused about where they are or why these particular people are brought together. Royce becomes the unofficial leader of this group of strangers into a strange environment. Deeper into the forest clues about other people that have perished there suggests that they are pitted together in a sort of battle royale contest where they are the prey.

The jungle is filled with booby traps by the beings that are controlling their every move. Mombasa notices a presence in the trees, but thinks nothing of it. When the instance happens again with something jumping through the trees in stealth speed, they figure that something alien is toying with them.

The plot of the movie is the brainchild of Robert Rodriguez who developed it over fifteen years ago. He couldn’t get this movie off the ground, because it was deemed too much of finical risk. This movie was made for $40 million. You could afford that Fox. As the audience we know about the Predators and what the strengths and weaknesses are. Having to go through that again would wear you down.

I have a major gripe here. The movie is called “Predators”. Plural. I was expecting a shit ton of them gunning after the renegade group of people. I saw that in one scene. What the fuck? I thought a whole bunch of motherfuckers who get after their asses. Basically, one is after them. I’m sorry. Back to the drawing board, Mr. Rodriguez.

The action sequences were fine. Some where WTF with a sword fight the jungle and dueling Predators. Really? it was bogged down with that slow exposition scene with the longest survivor of the Predator planet, Noland (Laurence Fishburne). I thought that he was miscast in the role. If Gary Busey got in there or something. I know he was in the sequel, but still I wanted somebody batshit crazy there.

The big reveal in the end of the movie. I saw coming from a mile away. It was contrived. It did not fit in the story at all. It was like a scary movie reveal. Whatever.

The only thing I marginally liked about this movie was Adrien Brody. Who knew that the emaciated guy from The Pianist would be a convincing action hero? Sure, he has the gravelly Christian Bale’s Batman voice going on, but I liked the way he did things, especially towards the end.

Judgment: This is not worthy successor to the Predator name.

Rating: **1/2

The Thing (1982)

I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.

— Clark

I’ve heard of John Carpenter’s The Thing in passing. This is currently the #163 movie of All Time on IMDb. I always mistake it for Swamp Thing for some reason. I wanted to go into the movie totally blind. Well, that’s not the whole truth. I read the plot summary of the movie. It intrigues me. Watching the movie, it freaked me to no end.

Taking place in the most desolate of places, Antarctica, a group of twelve men are stuck in a post. One day, the camp is invaded by a couple of Norwegian guys in a helicopter trying to shoot down a Siberian husky. When one of the Nordes starts rapid shooting at the dog and the team members, the leader of the group, Garry (Donald Moffat) shoots and kills the Norwegian. They take the dog inside the bunker.

The group begins to wonder what the hell was going on with the Norwegian shoots at a dog. MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Copper (Richard Dysart) investigates the Norwegians camp to see what lead them to go batshit crazy. Going through charred remains, they discover a hollowed out block of ice that might have a specimen inside of it. The question is where is it now? They find some film reels and the charred remains of a body. They take it back to base camp.

Dr. Blair (Wilford Brimley) examines the body to determine that it was human but it was somehow fused together into a gigantic glob. At the same time, Clark (Richard Masur) has to put the husky into the cage with the rest of the huskies. The others start to snarl and bark. The rescue husky starts to transform into a giant spider/dog/human like creature that is siphoning the dogs as food.

Hearing the yelping, MacReady quickly torches the creature. Examining the creature Dr. Blair concludes that the creature has the ability to shift itself into anything the creature kills. If any part of the organism gets in contact with a human it takes over the body like a virus.

The team looks over the footage they salvaged from the Norwegian camp. They saw that the Norwegians discovered a spaceship that crash-landed in the ice for over 100,000 years. The alien pilot tries to get out but was buried in the ice.

The team becomes paranoid that the alien would take the form of any of team members and they start to turn on each other.

This was a great exercise in tension. When the paranoia sets in with Dr. Blair or with MacReady, nobody knows who is human or who was replaced by the alien. You think that when they kill the creature, they are done. No. The alien comes up with a vengeance. These ultimately realize that they might now make it out. They are in total isolation with help thousands of miles away.

Judgment: A horror movie that is not about the blood and gore. It has something to say.

Rating: ****

The Crazies (2010)

Don’t ask me why I can’t leave without my wife and I won’t ask you why you can.

— David Dutton

I have not seen the original George Romero cult classic. When I saw the promos for The Crazies, I was intrigued about a different take on the “zombie movie” genre like the 28 Days Later series. The movie overall is an enjoyable ride, but has some glaring inconsistencies within it.

It seems like a typical American town, but something strange is starting to happen. One of the town’s residents, Rory (Mike Hickman) wanders unto a high school baseball game in progress holding a shotgun in his hands. The Pierce County Town sheriff, David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) tries to reason with him, but he points the gun towards him. David has no choice but to shoot Rory dead.

David is haunted by his act, when Rory’s family questions his actions. He believed that Rory was drunk when David shot him, but the medical examiner said otherwise that he wasn’t under the influence. He begins to investigate what could trigger a guy to do that kind of act.

Slowly the residents of this community start acting strange. A concerned wife, Deardra Farnum (Christie Lynn Smith) takes her husband, Bill (Brett Rickaby) to the town doctor, Judy Dutton (Radha Mitchell) to be examined. Judy thinks that Bill looks fine, but something is little off. Things change when Bill shows the same signs as Rory by locking his family inside his house and set it on fire. David and his deputy, Russ (Joe Anderson) put Bill up in their holding cell until he could be transferred.

A trio of hunters discovers a dead parachutist in the middle of a swamp, but David and Russ see that it was a big plane nearby. It was there for over three months and was poisoning the town’s water supply. David wants to shut down the town’s water supply, but was rejected by the mayor (John Aylward) who thinks that this farming community need to water to help the crops.

When they come back to station to find Bill lying on the floor, they think he’s dead, but he tries to come after them from behind the bars. They wanted to know why it is taking so long for other agencies to arrive. They realize that the internet is not working nor cell phone signals. In a matter of hours, the town becomes a ghost town. David and Russ begin seeing the townspeople committing unspeakable acts.

During the middle of the night, a bunch of soldiers bursting a take the rest of the townspeople away on buses to be cage up in a quarantine area at high school stadium. .Judy thinks that a virus is unleashed on the town. A word around the grapevine is that a toxin has been released in the town’s water supply meant for another city that making the resident loose their marbles.

Judy is quickly taken away, because they think that she has contracted the virus. Truth is it she’s pregnant. He wants to save her but the contaminated people have broken loose and the military presences have retreated. David has to find some way to get his back and leave town before there is nobody left.

Director Breck Eisner created a mood that seemed real, even though it’s cheesy premise. There were some good gory scenes. I did have major problems with the movie. There was an instance when Russ thinks he’s going crazy and threatened to shoot the David and Judy. David punched him with his right hand, but earlier in a scene where he was stabbed on that same hand Rory’s family, Peggy (Lisa K. Wyatt) and Curt (Justin Welborn). There was the scene in the car wash. Really? That climatic scene at that roadhouse. Hmm…

Judgment: An enjoyable ride that has some bumps along the away.

Rating: ***1/2

Daybreakers (2010)

Immortality is the miracle, we are blessed.

— Charles Bromley

I wasn’t that interested in seeing Daybreakers, because of the back story. The movie was supposed to come out in 2009, but it sat on the self until it was released early last month. I guess, somebody wanted to cash in on the vampire mania that is sweeping the nation. I thought that the movie was different take on the vampire genre with a social allegory.

Taking place in 2019, ten years after a virus mutation turned most of the world into vampires. The humans are an endangered species. Five percent of the world populations are human. There is not enough blood to feed off the human. Vampires are starving and turning into subsiders, Nosferatu-like creatures that live underground. They turn to the head of Bromley Marks, Charles Bromley (Sam Neill) to farm the last remaining humans.

With a month of actual blood left, Bromley turns to the top hematologist at the company, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) to find a blood substitute to help the vampires from starving. He has been working with his partner, Christopher (Vince Colosimo) to desperately find a solution with disastrous consequences.

On a drive home that night, Edward gets into an accident where he learns that the people in other car are human. When the accident happens, the cops try to apprehend the humans, but Ed feeling sorry for the humans, protect them and let them escape.

Ed’s little brother, Frankie (Michael Dorman) comes home to celebrate Ed’s 35th birthday for the tenth time. Frankie is military enforcer for Bromley Marks to round up any humans to be harvested. He brings home a carafe of pure human blood for Ed. Ed doesn’t want it. He is reluctant to drink human blood.

The next day, Ed’s security system goes off when Audrey (Claudia Karvan), the human that met at the accident scene, offers him to meet her at a place in broad daylight to find a way to stop the blood shortage.

Driving around in blacked out windows, Ed meets Audrey at the meeting place which in another a huge tree. Audrey introduces Ed to Lionel “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe), who used to be a vampire. Ed thinks that this is impossible, but when Lionel tells him his story. The trio try to find a way to harness a way to cure the vampirism.

I thought that this movie was a fascinating take mass consumption, overpopulation, and dwindling food supply. Is this a great movie? No. I had some people with the vamps smoking cigarettes. They are dead. How could they inhale the smoke? Why would the first vampire test subject be strapped to a heart monitoring system? No heartbeat. Why were the doctors in scrubs? It’s not like they are going to catch cooties.

Judgment: An enjoyable film that doesn’t have anything to do with sparkling skinned vamps.

Rating: ***1/2

Avatar (2009)

Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream.

— Jake Sully

Avatar has been swimming around the mind of James Cameron for almost twenty years. I read the blurbs about two thirds of this movie will be completely computer generated and it will be in 3D. When I saw the trailers for this movie, I was not impressed. It was not my must-see. I went into this movie with low expectations. By the final shot of movie, I was glad that spent the past two and half hours in Pandora.

Taking place in 2154, a paraplegic ex-Marine, Cpl. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is asked to take the place of his twin brother, Tom who was recently murdered to a mission on the alien planet of Pandora. It has colonized by humans who want to gain access to a precious metal called Unobtanium that could help solve their energy crisis. The mission is headed by the power hungry Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribsi).

There is one major problem that stand in their way, the native inhabitants of the planet called the Na’vi. They are ten-foot blue creatures that are very resourceful and would kill anymore that threaten their land.

Jake is taken to Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) who is heading up the Avatar program, which infuses human DNA wit that of the Na’vi. She doesn’t think that a guy with no training should meld his mind into the avatar, but she has no choice. Jake will be her security escort when the team explores the vast forests of the planet.

When Jake wakes up in the avatar, he cannot believe that he has the power of walk again. He is like a kid in a candy store. On a routine scouting mission, Jake is confronted by ferocious Pandorian animals that force him way from the group. Rescue efforts by team with the help of pilot, Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodgriguez) had to be suspended until the next morning.

Alone in the now fluorescent wonderland, Jake has to fend for himself against potential predators. A young Na’vi girl, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) helps Jake fend off some predators when Neytiri’s tribe headed by her brother, Tsu’tey (Laz Alonzo) confronts the duo. Jake is taken to the village where Neytiri’s parents, Eytukan and Moat (Wes Studi, CCH Pounder) want to learn more about the outsider. With a single ritual by Moat, Jake has gained a way into the Na’vi inner circle.

Taking advantage of the opportunity is hotshot Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) who wants Jake to infiltrated the way of life of the Na’vi; learn their language, customs and other rituals in order to gain access the rich Unobtanium deposit that is in the Na’vi homeland. The colonel promises if he could get the Na’vi to leave the land after three months, then Jake could get a new pair of working legs.

As Jake begins the lessons with Neytiri appointed by her mother to do, he realizes that he is not sure what side to fight for, the humans or the Na’vi.

There have been comparisons of this movie to Dances with Wolves. I can see that, but the movie is much more than that. The movie is manifest destiny and retelling the history of any indigenous people that have massacred by another race, because they are different from them only from the natives perspective. The Native Americans, the Aborigines, the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs have been affected by “civilizing the savages”. Maybe the people doing the killing are the true savages. I also got the feeling that this movie could be a mirror for the War on Terror.

The computer generated shot were seamless and I forgot that I looking a computer generated blue alien for a while. The environments were gorgeous to behold. The depth and scope were breathtaking, but I wonder will the movie lose its impact if it comes out on DVD. It’s not going to be the same experience seeing the movie in 2D, instead of 3D.

The movie is not perfect. I saw the movie in the true fashion that he wanted, in 3D. I felt that some of the effects were made a little sloppy at times when you can clearly see something that was put in the foreground in the real life shot. There were some pacing problems that I had with last third of the movie. The plot of the movie is not unique. The characters are not well-developed, but Neytiri was the best character in the whole movie. I was bothered about some parts in the ending, which I will discuss in the spoiler section.

Judgment: This is movie event of the year. This is a must-see in 3D.

Rating: ****

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Total Recall (1990)

total_recall

If I am not me, then who the hell am I?

— Douglas Quaid

Here is another movie that I was embarrassed that I have never seen, Total Recall. People bragged how cool the movie is. I have to admit that it’s freaking awesome.

In the not too distant future, Earth has colonized some of the planets in the solar system including Saturn and Mars. An unhappy construction worker, Doug Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has strange dreams about the struggle between the rebels and the corporation, led by Cohaagan (Ronny Cox) control the action on the red planet.

His wife, Lori (Sharon Stone) is worried that he is becoming obsessed with vacationing on Mars. He finds an alternative from a co-worker about a company called Recall, Incorporated who implants fake memories into their clients.

A smooth salesman Bob McClane (Ray Baker) persuades Doug to upgrade to an “ego trip”, which is essentially a vacation from themselves. Doug wants to be a secret agent.

There is a malfunction in the machine when he goes into the schizophrenic state, instead of a medically induced coma. Consequently, his memories are erased. The agency wants to cover its tracks.

After he comes back to the city, his life is turned upside down. His whole life is not real. He’s name is not Doug Quaid. He was implanted by the Agency. Everybody in his life is a double agent that tries to extract vital information from his brain.

He is chased by Richter (Michael Ironside) and Helm (Michael Champion) that wants to kill him. An unknown guy phones Doug to pick up a suitcase that contains a video message from himself. He learns that his is not what he thinks he is. The message says that he needs to get himself to Mars. Find Kuato that is the savior of the Mars colony. He wants what is in Quaid’s head. He has to reconnect with a woman from The Last Resort, Melina (Rachel Ticotin).

The movie left me wondering, was the world real or imaginary? Two or three times in the movie, it seems like the life of Quaid is not his. This movie was made in 1990. The “futuristic” elements like the videophones and guns felt dated. The vehicles looked like the Delorean on crack. The dialogue is hilarious at times. I don’t know if that the director, Paul Verhoeven intended for that to happen.

Judgment: A solid sci-fi thriller that makes you think what is real and what is not.

Rating: ****

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