Sultryminxzoe's Blog

Repo Men repossessing Repo! The Genetic Opera January 13, 2010

 

Courtesy of CinemaBlend.com

Universal Pictures released the first movie trailer for Repo Men, scheduled for theater release April 2, 2010. Check out the official trailer below [posted by Viso Trailers, YouTube user trailers].  

Based on a novel penned by Eric Garcia, Repo Men is set in the not so distant future where artificial organs can be bought on credit. The question you need to ask is, “what happens when you miss a payment?” Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are the answer – two ordinary men who make their living recovering organs from people whose accounts are in default. When Jude Law finds himself with a heart he cannot pay for, he must go on the run before his debt can be collected.  

If you are reading this post on my blog, you are a cult movie follower or an intense Whedonite, you may be thinking this movie sounds a little familiar. That’s right kiddies, you are thinking of Repo! The Genetic Opera. A project which began as a 10 minute stage performance concocted by friends Darren Smith & Terrance Zdunich, Repo! The Genetic Opera intrigued audiences. As its popularity grew, the project continued its evolution, culminating in a feature film backed by Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment.  

Courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

This cult hit is a rock-opera that chronicles the lives of characters in a future where organs are up for sale. Can’t pay cash? That’s okay, GeneCo, the corporation making all this possible offers a payment plan. Be sure to keep up with your payments, lest a Repo man hunt you down to repossess on your debt. Don’t fret, take a shot of Zydrate – a drug to take away all your pain, harvested from the dead and peddled in back alleys.  

Repo! The Genetic Opera is available for purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray. If you aren’t familiar with the movie, check out the official trailer below [posted by YouTube user SteeffMD].  

Terrance Zdunich addressed the Universal movie and the onslaught of questions and comments he has received from fans of Repo! The Genetic Opera on his blog. He has taken a decidedly positive stance. His blog post highlights the steps taken to guard against any copyright claims and points out some of the differences between his creation and the new movie. He implores fans of Repo! to share with others why they enjoy his stage play and the cult movie writing,  

“As fans of REPO!, this gives you a unique opportunity to testify to those who bring up Repo Men, those who may be unaware of the existence of REPO! The very controversy over what looks like idea theft could rally a whole new viewership to REPO!’s fandom.”  

   

For more information on Repo! The Genetic Opera, visit the official website. To read Terrance Zdunich’s blog, visit his personal blog. For more information on the Universal Pictures release, Repo Men, visit the official website.

 

Movie Review – Paranormal Activity November 21, 2009

Filed under: Movies,Reviews — sultryminxzoe @ 11:48 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Director: Oren Peli

Writer: Oren Peli

Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Ashley Palmer, Amber Armstrong

Warning: Some Spoilers

Capitalizing on people’s fascination with the paranormal and our innate fear of the unknown, Paranormal Activity has recently taken movie theaters by storm. The $15,000.00 independent movie opened to limited release. Making the most of their marketing dollars, the distributors gave people the power to drive the movie to unexpected financial success. As more people saw Paranormal Activity and spread the word, people visited the official movie website in droves to “Demand It” and the movie quickly gained screen time at additional theaters across the country.

Personally, I was excited to see this movie as soon as I first heard about it. Being regaled as the next Blair Witch Project, I was intrigued. Soon enough, just about everyone I know was talking about it. I heard mixed reviews from the early audiences. Some people found the movie long and dull. Others didn’t mind the length and found the experience worth it for the final 30 minutes.  While others simply exclaimed, “You have to see Paranormal Activity!”

Finally, I found myself in a nearly empty theater (thanks to Twilight: New Moon) at a 12:35am screening. As I said, I was intrigued, but also skeptical. Let’s face it, there has been a lot of hype about this movie. The more press a movie gets, the lower my expectations. Honestly, I expected to be bored. Paranormal Activity wasn’t a bore, but it was no thriller either.

The story is simple: a young couple videotapes their paranormal experiences as a malevolent entity terrorizes them. From the moment the movie began the acting screamed drama class exercise. Between Micah’s desire to handle the situation himself as a stereotypical “tough guy,”  and Katie as the terrified student who cries without shedding a tear, the performances are far from Oscar worthy. Even the performances from the small supporting cast come across as forced. One can overlook the acting.

As the movie progresses, we see the experiences build in intensity from just a bump in the night to more tangible experiences, finally into demonic possession. The effects aren’t great (remember that small budget), but they were done well. What Paranormal Activity gets right is the suspense. There weren’t any terrifying moments, and nothing really to make you jump out of your seat. However, I won’t deny there were times when I got a chill and I thought twice about that noise in the night. Nonetheless, Paranormal Activity draws you into the experience and you find yourself relating to both Katie and Micah – Katie for her desire to be rid of this entity that has followed her through life, and Micah for his uncontrollable desire to document more tangible experiences. Let’s face it, most of us would like to have our own paranormal experiences and some seek out opportunities to commune with other-worldly entities.

Paranormal Activity truly is today’s Blair Witch Project. I think of it as a very low-budget Poltergeist. Either way, I am glad I saw the movie and I would recommend everyone see it. However, once is enough. There isn’t enough substance here to warrant multiple viewings. Paranormal Activity won’t translate well to home viewing on the small screen, so it is worth it to get to the theater.

 

Movie Review – Law Abiding Citizen October 18, 2009

Official Trailer courtesy of Lawabidingcitizenfilm.com

Genre: Drama/Thriller

Writer: Kurt Wimmer

Director:  F. Gary Gray

Starring: Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Christian Stolte, Josh Stewart, Viola Davis, Gregory Itzin, Richard Portnow, Annie Corley

Law Abiding Citizen tells the story of Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler), an ordinary man who becomes the victim of a home invasion. During the crime, he witnesses the brutal attack and killing of his family. When the perpetrators, Darby and Ames (Christian Stolte & Josh Stewart, respectively) are caught, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) is assigned by the District Attorney’s office to prosecute the case. In this film, we see how an everyday man can be changed when the judicial system fails to obtain justice for the crimes against his family.

First let me say I was not overly excited to see this film, despite my intense fandom for Gerard Butler. However, a Girls Night Out found me in a half-filled theater checking out the hype. I was pleasantly surprised by this film.

Make no mistake Gerard Butler’s performance is amazing. As he transforms from a loving family man to an intelligent man with a mysterious past and a disturbingly tactical mind who exacts his revenge simply to prove a point, every moment is believable.

Pardon me while I gush for a moment. Gerard Butler is one of those actors to be taken very seriously. The breadth of his work is varied. He is best known for his work as a leading man in romantic comedies the likes of P. S. I Love You and physically dominant roles in movies like 300. He has also had a stint in family film with Nim’s Island, enjoyed some grittier works such as RocknRolla and displayed a broad range in more emotionally evocative films such as Dear Frankie and One More Kiss . Certainly I must mention the strength of his performance in The Phantom of the Opera. In each of his roles, Gerard Butler is committed to suspending reality and drawing his audience into the story. His performance in Law Abiding Citizen is no different.

As for Jamie Foxx, it must be said he does have a definite talent as an actor. I doubt anyone would argue here. His performance in Ray put him on the map and with good reason. However, in my opinion, Jamie Foxx has always seemed a tad too cocky. Unfortunately, even in moments wrought with emotion, it comes across as insincere. I believe it is because of this I was able to enjoy his performance in Law Abiding Citizen. His character, Nick Rice, is a man climbing the ladder in the District Attorney’s office who will do anything to advance his career. One of his larger character flaws is his disregard for others, including his own family. The only people his character shows true concern for are his mentor, Jonas Cantrell (Bruce McGill), and his protege, Sarah Lowell (Leslie Bibb). Jamie Foxx’s performance was good for the most part, though there were times when he seemed to lose his character a bit.

The supporting cast is star-studded and fantastic. Unfortunately, they tend to fall into the background in this movie. The story is 100% about Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) and Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) and you are aware of that every moment.

Those of you looking for action and violence may actually be disappointed. There are plenty of beautiful explosions and even a car chase. The violence is there; however, it is largely implied. The director was clever in his filming. The truly violent scenes are still served without seeing all of the gory details. This movie does not provide copious amounts of gore for the sake of making the audience squeamish, which I found refreshing.

The story is smart and the audience spends most of the movie wondering how Clyde Shelton is able to pull off the crimes he’s committing. My only complaint is that not enough attention is spent on Clyde Shelton’s past. Learning about his past comes out of nowhere and is quite a revelation. In addition to being very interesting, his past lends itself to the character’s development.

My final decision on Law Abiding Citizen is go see it. I think everyone will get something out of this film – whether you are a fan of the actors and their performances, or a story that is not predictable (a rarity in movies lately), or the violence. Even if you do not see this one in the theaters, catch it on dvd when it is released.

For more on the film, visit the Official Website.

For more reviews, check out reviews from some other film-loving friends:

Action Flick Chick – Movie Review

Film GurlMovie Review

 

Movie Review – Whip It October 11, 2009

Filed under: Movies,Reviews — sultryminxzoe @ 8:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: Drew Barrymore

Writer: Shauna Cross

Starring: Ellen Page, Kristin Wiig, Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis, Daniel Stern, Alia Shawkat, Eve, Landon Pigg, Jimmy Fallon. Drew Barrymore, Andrew Wilson

Ellen Page stars as Bliss, a high school teen in small-town Texas.  When we meet her she is a misfit amongst pageant contestants. Participating to carry on her mother’s legacy, Bliss goes along with the pageant activities to keep the peace with her mother (Marcia Gay Harden), but realizes there is more to life than pageantry. The only thing that seems to keep her sane in her boring, small-town existence is her best friend, Pash (Alia Shawkat). High school friends and co-workers at the Oink Joint, both girls dream of escaping their lives in the heartland.

One day, Bliss happens upon some roller derby gals. What is roller derby? Take a bunch of hot ladies in fishnet with attitude, put them in roller skates, add a bit of aggression & competition and you have the makings of a roller derby bout. Bliss slowly immerses herself in roller derby, enticed by the sense of freedom her everyday life does not allow her. In roller derby she finds an accepting family, free of judgement. A place where she is free to find herself and fall in love.

With all this freedom comes conflict. Eventually, the half-truths and omissions catch up with Bliss. Here is where the true lessons are learned – about understanding, strength of character, compromise and letting go. Perhaps it was my own small-town upbringing, but I felt it was easy to relate to all of the characters and what they brought to the story. The story is familiar, with a twist. It recognizes that we are, all of us, looking for the one thing that we can be good at, that will make us happy . . . and that one thing can be different for each of us.

Whip It marks Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. In my opinion, this was the perfect project for her and she did a beautiful job. Whip It speaks to Drew Barrymore’s love with the idea of the eternal dreamer and I am excited to see what projects she will bring us in the future.

Whip It is heartfelt and charming. The cast is phenomenal. The soundtrack is edgy and meaningful. Everything about this movie is spot on! This film is not just a chick flick, I highly recommend this movie for anyone that enjoys a good movie!

For more on Whip It, visit the Official Website.

 

Movie Review – Zombieland October 4, 2009

Genre: Action/Comedy/Horror

Director: Ruben FLeischer

Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

Writers: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

 

Could you survive the Zombie Apocolypse? This movies shows you might . . .  if you follow a few simple rules. A small group of survivors struggle to continue a normal life.

 

From the beginning, you will notice this is not your classic zombie movie. The story is told from the perspective of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), an anxious college student and shut-in as he explains how he has survived in a world overrun by zombies. His key to survival is a set of rules and the audience gets to see them in practical demonstration. Columbus crosses paths with Talahassee (Woody Harrelson), who finds a disturbing satisfaction in killing down zombies and has a perfectly natural obsession with a certain Hostess product. Along the way, they run into two sisters, Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), as they search to find a place untouched by zombies.

 

I was lucky enough to see Zombieland today with my friend Aaron. If you have not see this movie, GO SEE IT! Zombieland is pure hilarity! The writing is quick and witty. From the first rule, we were laughing. Comic relief reigns in Zombieland. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of blood and gore to satisfy the true zombie fans. There are even a few jumps for those who need a little scare.

 

The casting here is perfect. Jesse Eisenberg is great as the anxiety-ridden virgin. Woody Harrelson is magnificent as the tough-as-nails, zombie-killing Talahassee. Emma Stone is just plain gorgeous with her sarcastic sense of humor. I was surprised to see Abigail Breslin, but she is very good as the younger sister. For something extra special, there is even a guest cameo. I cannot imagine any other actors in these roles, that is how good these roles were cast.

 

As a side note, keep an ear out for the musical selections. The song choices were excellent and in tune with the story.

 

For more on Zombieland, visit the official movie site. Be sure to check out Action Flick Chick’s site too! She has plenty of Zombieland news, pics and behind the scene goodies.

 

Movie Review – Pandorum September 28, 2009

Filed under: Movies,Reviews — sultryminxzoe @ 12:38 am
Tags: , , , , ,

This review is also cross-posted at TxtMovieClub & SciFi Mafia.

Genre: SciFi/Horror/Thriller

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandent, Antje Traue, Cung Lee & Eddie Rouse

Written By: Travis Milloy

Directed By: Christian Alvart

The movie is set in a future where Earth’s population has grown beyond its resources. Dennis Quaid (Lieutenant Payton) and Ben Foster (Corporal Bower) portray members of a flight crew charged with maintaining the space ship Elysium during their two year shift. When the men wake from hyper-sleep, they are disoriented with no memory and realize they are missing a member of their crew. To make matters worse, they seem to be locked in a single room, the ship’s systems are offline and the reactor is in serious need of repair.

The men get the computer station functioning and Lieutenant Payton guides Corporal Bower as he makes his way out of the room through the ventilation shafts. On the other side he finds fellow passengers and what appears to be an alien species. As Corporal Bower makes his way through the ship to fix the reactor and find other passengers, the story unfolds and we find out along with the crew what happened aboard Elysium, what happened to the other passengers, where the alien race came from and where the ship is headed.

The acting, what there is of it, is good. In fact, Ben Foster is amazing. Dennis Quaid is great as well, though he is not given enough opportunity to show his range. I enjoyed the story; however, it seemed incomplete. Some things were brought to light, but not explored. The screenplay is set up to divulge little tidbits of information as the movie goes forward, eventually revealing the big storyline. Unfortunately, the exposition is not done well and the story becomes more predictable the more time passes.

As for the horror/thriller aspect, I missed it. There was nothing truly scary or thrilling about this movie. There was barely a moment of suspense. The best way I can think to describe the movie is to think of Aliens, if it had been written by M. Night Shyamalan. A scifi movie with a psychological suspense component.

Overall, the movie was okay. Not wonderful, but not complete crap either. I was excited to see this movie from the first time I saw a trailer. For me, the movie was a disappointment. Plenty of good, just not enough to live up to my expectations. Would I recommend seeing it? Yes, but add it to your Netflix queue or wait to rent it when the dvd is released. It simply is not worth spending the outrageous movie ticket price to see it in the theater.

 

Movie Review – Terminator Salvation May 22, 2009

Beware there are spoilers to follow.

Being a fan of the Terminator franchise, I had high hopes for this movie. The trailers could have been a black screen with a Christian Bale voice over – I still would have been excited for this movie. Unfortunately, this film did not deliver. Several of the memorable moments are shown in the preview trailers, so there really are few surprises.

When I began writing this review, I pointed out all the problems with the story. I’m sure it will surprise most to find out the first draft was far too long and detailed. However, that should give you some insight to the disappointment I felt with this film. Overall, the different kinds of machines are awesome. A lot of thought was put into them and the role they would play in a world where humans are fighting machines and their practical applications. However, even here I was let down.

Being a bit of a techie myself and given the technology we have readily available, there is a simplicity to the machines I found unlikely and quite frankly annoying. Using short wave transmissions as their principal line of communication, the USB 2.0 drive that appears to be included in the design of every model and the inability to observe and analyze their surroundings killed it for me. The machines have facial recognition and a considerable arsenal, yet are color-blind, unable to register symbols, unaware when a control panel has been accessed and simply have poor aiming capabilities. Apparently, only a few machines are outfitted with infrared scanning in a world where machines hunt humans, never mind simple motion detection. Top it all off with a healthy dose of arrogance and I’m done.

Now on to the humans . . .

The film opens in the modern-day and we are immediately introduced to two important characters: Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter), a high level Cyberdyne employee dying of cancer, and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a convicted man on death row. Responsible for the death of two cops and his own brother, and given his ability to add insult to injury, we are meant to believe Marcus is a hardened criminal. Who better to sign their body over to Cyberdyne for God only knows what? I will admit I did enjoy this additional storyline. It adds a new and interesting development to the war against the machines. However, as soon as you find our what Dr. Kogan wants, you know how this scene will end and quite a bit about how the story will unfold throughout the rest of the film, especially if you’re seen any of the preview trailers.

Personally, I would have liked more insight into these characters. These two become an integral part of the movie and this bit of exposition does little to provide insight into the characters, their motivations and how they will continue to where we inevitably see them later in the film. At the end of the scene, I was left wondering if I am supposed to believe Marcus Wright to be a hardened criminal or a man who found himself in a bad situation and is essentially good at heart. Marcus realizes he is not a good man and we are meant to feel for him in his struggle and believe he is worthy of a second chance at life – that he is to be trusted. The entire film struggles with this and I was convinced of neither. Particularly later in the movie, it would have been great to see more of a struggle between doing the right thing and satisfying an innate desire to kill. Here again, a tech issue. With the role technology plays in healthcare today, Marcus will be the only human to be so greatly incorporated with machines???

I also have to wonder what Dr. Kogon’s job at Cyberdyne involves, how she ended up there in the first place and what her intention is. Her concern is for the future of humanity. Well, that is more than a little vague. What is the big bad we supposedly need to be saved from? Or is the woman suffering paranoid delusions? We are supposed to get the impression that she has good intentions and means well, but again, not enough substance here. The film really becomes their story, Marcus and Dr. Kogon, but there’s not enough here to back it up.

Enter John Connor (Christian Bale) and his resistance fighters, looking for a mysterious key to end the war. We quickly discover the machines are building a new model of Terminator. The audience is also made aware the machines are capturing humans and the operation was a trap. This latter point is no surprise. In fact, one of the resistance fighters even points out the facility is too quiet and it’s as if the machines were waiting for them. Sure enough, the facility is destroyed and John Connor is the only survivor.

Cut to Connor forcing his way in to see the leaders of his military command, where the audience is fed even more of the storyline. The fruits of John Connor’s mission turn out to be a hidden signal in the machine transmissions the resistance can exploit – an “off switch.” Here’s the kicker, a thumb drive will hold the key to turning the tide in the war.

Now, let’s bring back Marcus. Immediately, we all know he is a machine, at least part machine. He eventually runs into a 17-year old Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and a mute little girl while randomly walking the face of the earth. Reese and the girl alone have survived in a decimated Los Angeles for several years. While Marcus has obviously been living under a rock, with a complete lack of knowledge about the machine uprising, Reese and the little girl take him in. Reese and the girl, along with a band of other survivors we meet along the way and captured to be held in Skynet headquarters. Soon after Marcus will meet Blaire Williams (Moon Bloodgood), a resistance fighter, who will lead him back to the resistance base. All three of these characters, “out in the wild,” readily accept this stranger as just another human trying to survive. No one bothers to ask how he’s been able to survive all this time blindly walking out in the open, oblivious to the threat of the machines.

While the acting is good, the story is near unbearable. It’s all too simple, too easy. And I spent the entire movie waiting for a huge battle between humans and machines that never came. Many of the scenes actually remind me of other, better films. As a whole, this film tried too hard and failed miserably. The beginning of the storyline was a great opportunity for excellence, instead the movie falls flat. I got so wrapped up in the major holes the screenplay offered, there was little connection to the actors and their struggle to survive and overcome their own conflicts. All of the previous Terminator movies, and the television series were handled better than this film, and are far more entertaining. Rumors have it there are two more Terminator films slated, based on the performance of Salvation. If this film is any indication of what those films will be, the franchise has lost a fan.