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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone prepare for action in SUCKER PUNCH.

SUCKER PUNCH... I saw the Zack Snyder-directed film earlier today, and much like his previous films Watchmen and 300, it was visually stunning. Plus, it had a pretty cool soundtrack. The most interesting aspect of Sucker Punch is that all the fantasy scenes in the movie involving the main character Baby Doll (played by Emily Browning...who I remember from 2004’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which starred Jim Carrey) took place while she was burlesque-dancing (which we never see on-screen) for different clients at the mental asylum she was held in. Who would’ve thought it was possible to gyrate and titillate while simultaneously picture oneself fighting against a 30-foot-tall Samurai welding a Gatling gun? Hm.

Baby Doll, played by Emily Browning, unleashes raw firepower in SUCKER PUNCH.

I also saw the sci-fi adventure comedy Paul. It was funny... If I had the funds I’d totally go to Nevada and visit the "Extraterrestrial Highway" that leads to Area 51, just like what Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s characters did. Seth Rogen was amusing voicing the alien, while it was interesting to see Jason Bateman and Jeffrey Tambor (who both appeared in the long-defunct but very hilarious FOX TV series Arrested Development) show up in the film...along with Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio (who, along with Rogen, both showed up in 2007’s smash hit Superbad. Greg Mottola, who helmed Superbad, also directed Paul). Nice um, cameo by Steven Spielberg in the movie... I’m looking forward to watching the upcoming J.J. Abrams-directed film Super 8—which is produced by Spielberg. The film comes out in theaters on June 10. So, yea. You know what I’m gonna say next: That is all.

Simon Pegg, Kristen Wiig, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen (as the alien Paul) embark on a cross-country adventure in PAUL.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marine helicopters fly along the Southern California coastline as artificial meteors explode all around them in BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES... I finally saw the alien-invasion film today, and needless to say, it was the sci-fi version of Black Hawk Down. Which means...I thought it was pretty cool! Non-stop action was waged throughout B:LA, much like in Ridley Scott’s 2002 war flick about the 1993 conflict in Somalia. Aaron Eckhart was awesome as Staff Sergeant Nantz; while compared to her gung-ho attitude in Avatar, Machete and the Fast and the Furious films, Michelle Rodriguez was somewhat tame as Tech Sgt. Elena Santos in B:LA. As Santos, Rodriguez didn't have the usual sarcastic quips that she had playing previous movie characters. Not that that's a bad thing. Nothing exceptionally noteworthy about the civilians played by Bridget Moynahan and Michael Peña, but I’ll give them props since my review about this flick is supposed to be a positive one. I just found out through IMDb.com that 2nd Lt. William Martinez, who was in charge of the Marine platoon before handing command over to Eckhart's Nantz and then sacrificing himself later in the film, was played by Ramon Rodriguez. In case you’re wondering who this is, Rodriguez played the wacky college roommate of Shia LaBeouf in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. But back to B:LA.

Aaron Eckhart as Staff Sergeant Nantz (with Michelle Rodriguez's Tech Sergeant Elena Santos behind him) in BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.

Battle: Los Angeles didn’t exactly have a deep message like 2009’s District 9 (which B:LA also borrowed elements from...namely weapons that cause explosions surrounded by bolts of lightning) did, but it was still a lot better than last year’s Skyline. B:LA didn’t have a "WTF??" moment at the very end of the movie like Skyline did...though as I said at the beginning of this journal entry, B:LA was obviously inspired by Black Hawk Down in that Eckhart and Co. go back into the battlefield at the film's conclusion to take care of unfinished business. Also, the battle in Los Angeles lasted for one day...while the 1993 battle in Mogadishu, Somalia lasted a day as well. Nothing wrong with that. My personal gripe about B:LA is that, like the Bourne movies (as in The Bourne Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum), it overdid it with the shaky cam. By now using this camera technique in war films has become a cliché, and unfortunately B:LA suffers from this tired method. It was cool in Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down...but try spending more time setting the camera up on a tripod or at least a Steadicam, folks—if there’s a sequel (Battle: San Diego, anyone?). Thanks. Another gripe is that the trippy song used in B:LA's theatrical trailers, "The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky Turned Black" by Icelandic musician Johann Johannsson, wasn't featured in the movie. Oh well.

Tech Sgt. Elena Santos stares at what remains of a Marine 'Forward Operating Base' in BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.

Special effects-wise, the aliens in B:LA looked interesting...though were they using projectile weapons (RE: bullets) just like the humans were? I guess having the invaders shoot laser beams at the Marines would’ve ruined the gritty, realistic tone of the film. After all, this ain’t Star Wars. Or Star Trek. Or Independence Day. Or Transformers. Or Terminator. The same people who did the visual FX on Skyline also did the FX work on B:LA. The FX work was what saved Skyline since its CW Network-quality cast of actors wasn’t exactly the saving grace of that movie. That is all.

Staff Sergeant Nantz watches as the aliens' Command & Control Ship explodes after a U.S. Air Force missile strikes it in BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sentinel Prime in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.

IMAGES OF THE DAY... Meet Sentinel Prime—Optimus Prime’s big brother in this July's Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The two Autobots will be featured on the cover of this April's issue of Empire magazine...out in newsstands soon. In case you’re wondering, Sentinel’s vehicle mode of choice in Dark of the Moon will be the cool fire truck below. That is all.

The fire truck that Sentinel Prime will be disguised as in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.