Ice Cube Weekend – Ghosts of Mars (2001) Revisited

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis (Screenplay)

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone

 

Plot: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.


Tagline – Terror is the same on any planet

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Silly Fun Action Horror

 

Story: Ghosts of Mars starts when the lone survive of a prison transfer Melanie Ballard (Henstridge) is recount the events of her mission. The mission was for Melanie, Jericho (Statham), Bashira (DuVall), Commander Helena (Grier) going to an outpost on Mars in the year 2176 to transfer Desolation Williams (Cube).

When the team arrives, they find the outpost abandoned, bodies hanging from the ceiling and the only breath people seemed to have become infected by something. This forces the team to work with Desolation to battle the infected people coming after them.

 

Thoughts on Ghosts of Mars

 

Characters – Melanie Ballard is one of the police officers sent to the outpost to transfer the prisoner, she does use drugs to relax her, she is the one telling the story of the events, where she must take control of the situation trying to get the people out alive. Desolation Williams is the prisoner they are meant to be transferring, he has been accused and cleared of murder numerous times, he will have to work with Melanie to get out of this situation, where he skills will help the people fight to survive. Jericho Butler is one of the more experienced soldiers that is the go-to guy for weapons and fixing problems. Bashira is the rookie on the squad, who must learn quickly as the situation becomes deadlier. We do have too many characters, which will lead to many blink and you miss it deaths.

PerformancesNatasha Henstridge does a strong job as the reluctant hero, she handles the combat well, while trying to be the tough figure. Ice Cube brings the type of character that we know he will bring to most of his roles. With the large cast, most of the rest of the cast struggle to make any real impact on the story.

StoryThe story follows a group of military police on Mars looking to transfer a prisoner for a trial, only for them to find themselves coming face to face with a mysterious evil that has taken over the locals turning them into crazed killing machines. This is simple concept for a sci-fi horror, we get both sides of the law needing to work together to get the job of survival done, we do get the explanation about where the evil has come from. The problem with the story is that we have way too many characters, we have somebody telling the story, which sees them seeing the story through multiply viewpoints which does become frustrating because at times you hear a scene on the radio, only to cut back to the scene happening, which makes it feel like filler, rather than parts of the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of bullets flying around, hand to hand combat and weapons which can see body parts flying off. The horror isn’t as strong as it could be because we don’t get the blood shed the film hints at, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the colonies on Mars would operate.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on an outpost on Mars, it is remote, we know how long the team will be there before the transport returns, leaving us waiting to see how they could escape the situation.

Special EffectsThe special effects used in the film mostly from the body horrors the evil have been doing to themselves, it is strong use of make up but never feels terrifying like it should do.


Scene of the Movie –
Who is in charge now?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those silly fun action films in which you can enjoy without expecting anything to be overly serious, it might have plenty of flaws but watch with enjoyment you can laugh along.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action horror.

Rating

 

 

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Men in Black: International (2019)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum (Screenplay) Lowell Cunningham (Characters)

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani

 

Plot: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.


Tagline – The Universe is Expanding

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifeless

 

Story: Men in Black: International starts as we see the mission which made Agent High T (Neeson) and Agent H (Hemsworth) famous before meeting Molly (Tessa Thompson) who has been trying to find her way to the Men in Black, proving herself to be a useful asset that Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives a chance to.

Sending Molly under the name Agent M to London, she works with Agent H to uncover the why a dangerous species has arrived on Earth, with a connection to one of the deadliest enemies The Hive, can Agent H show Agent M the ropes to save the world once again?

 

Thoughts on Men in Black: International

 

Characters – Agent H is known as one of the most famous agents in the Men in Black, he uses his swagger to get the job done, seeming to be lucky over good, he almost feels more like a James Bond figure over any other agent we have seen before, his reputation has put him above other agents, but others see him not reaching the promised potential. Agent M, has been trying to find the Men in Black after an encounter as a child, she has applied to every law enforcement agency in America, not getting any luck even after being offered jobs, she has her own way to hunt potential alien visits, until she finds the Men in Black, she gets offered a chance, with her first assignment in London, to work with that branch which leaves her working with Agent H, trying to save the world, left in a position we aren’t sure who to trust like her. This is a strange character because she starts out being all about independent strong woman and soon just gives this up for a guy she fancies. Pawny is one of the aliens that ends up working with H and M, he gets all the laughs and is easily the best part of the movie. Agent O runs the New York branch, she reluctantly gives Molly a chance to prove herself, unlike any system the team has done for recruitment. Agent High T is the former partner of H, they saved the world once, he will always stick up for H after his mistakes, being like a father figure to him. Riza is a former lover and alien arms dealer, she does have a beauty figure that could get what she wants.

PerformancesThis is the hardest part of this review, we have some of my favourite actors in this film and they are exposed to their weaknesses through this film. Chris Hemsworth has been able to handle comedy with ease before, only he does well with his character, only it feels like his character shouldn’t be acting like this. Tessa Thompson starts well, only to just being generic throughout the film. Emma Thompson is just not used enough and Liam Neeson is involved enough to impact the main story. Kumail Nanjiani brings the jokes, showing he knows comedy being the highlight in the film.

StoryThe story follows a rookie MIB agent that finds herself in the middle of the battle to save the universe when visitors are searching for something on Earth. This is where everything does seem to fall apart for this movie, the story is painfully weak and flawed all over the place. we get confusing main characters, who lack the spark the original pairing had, the character don’t even feel like real agents either, granted one is new, but we have always been led to believe they are strict and well behaved. The story going on is hard to get invested in because of the direction it goes through, we don’t get to care about the characters which only makes the big scenes lack that it factor. It does end up feeling like a story which goes, here is one location, head to this location and then another location.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is very basic, we get the chases and minor fight and one moment that includes too many guns, the adventure does take our agents around the world, hence the international name tagged to the film. the comedy misses on nearly every level, if it wasn’t for Pawny, it would have failed completely. The aliens are here and while what the alien twins can do are interesting to see, only we don’t get anything new.

SettingsWe get the easy location around the world, New York, Paris, London etc, we get an international feeling which is all needed.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout with the alien twins getting the most use out of them with their unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Pawny

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is painfully predictable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple addition to the Men in Black franchise, which does waste the talents of the people involved to give us one of the most predictable movies you will ever see.

 

Overall: Use the Neuralyzer.

Rating

 

 

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Writer: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell (Screenplay) Madeleine L’Engle (Novel)

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Guge Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis

 

Plot: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.


Tagline – Be a warrior

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dragging Adventure

 

Story: A Wrinkle in Time starts when a trouble high school student Meg (Reid) hasn’t given up hope on being reunited with her father Mr Murry (Pine) after his sudden disappearance. Meg has become closed off from the world with her adopted brother Charles Wallace (McCabe) noticing the change in her. Meg, Charles and Calvin (Miller) get visited by Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) that opens up the possibilities for answers.

Mrs Whatsit takes the three children on an adventure through the universe with Mrs Which (Winfrey) and Mrs Who (Kaling), who believe they can locate Mr Murry after his research has taken him across the universe unlike anyone in human history.

 

Thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time

 

Characters – Meg is an outsider teenage girl, daughter of two brilliant scientists, with her father disappeared for four years now. She went from the popular out going girl to the shy closed off one. she has never given up hope of finding her father, which does leave questions about her relationship with her mother, she gets a chance to find her father with the will she shows in her heart. Mrs Which leads the three light entities that can help Meg travel the universe to find her father, she isn’t just guiding Meg, but the newest member of the team Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit is the bubbly member of the light entities, she is on her first mission of guidance which does see her make mistakes along the way. Mrs Who is the third member of the team, she is always positive like the rest only she gets the least amount of time to do anything of the three. Mr Murry is the father that has gone missing, he is a brilliant scientist that has always believed in travel through the universe to be possible and has been searching for a way to achieve. Calvin is the high school friend of Meg that ends up on the journey, he wants to support her even when it shows his own weakness in the world.

PerformancesStorm Reid is the highlight of the film which sees her going on the adventure to find her father, this is a disappointing as we do have a talent cast, only they just don’t seem to shine on the levels you would expect them to reach.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that gets to do on an adventure across the universe in search for her father through the powers of light entities. This is a story that has come from a popular novel and is meant to show the science behind potential travel through the universe and how the power is within us all. This is a story that just drags along, it doesn’t offer anything to the world we are entering. This story could have so much potential and ends up just glossing over too much, making it a hard watch.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that takes the children across the universe to see just where one’s father has gone, this does show us the fantasy elements of the film in the sci-fi universe we end up going along.

SettingsThe film is set in a fictional land where the people can travel to unknown planets in the universe, each one has its own unique look.

Special EffectsThe visual effects used to create the different worlds look beautiful, only they don’t seem to make anything feel as important to the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Understand other people’s problems from behind closed doors.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This story just doesn’t become interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that had so much potential only to fall so short, it has an amazing cast that just don’t get a chance to shine, the story just doesn’t get us going like it should do.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – J – Jupiter’s Moon (2017)

Director: Kornel Mundruczo

Writer: Kornel Mundruczo, Kata Weber (Screenplay)

Starring: Merab Ninidze, Zsombor Jeger, Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Monika Balsai

 

Plot: Aryan is a Syrian refugee trying to make his way into Hungary from Serbia, along with his father and many other wretched souls. They are all caught, and find themselves in a web of cynicism and corruption.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Jupiter’s Moon starts as Syrian refugee Aryan (Jeger) is trying to get into Hungary and becomes separated from his father and ends up getting shot by the police. Once the officer moves away Aryan shows an ability to push the bullets out of his body, which brings him to the attention of Dr Gabor Stern (Ninidze) who sees the abilities to make him standout from the world, with the added ability to float and fly.

Being chased down by the authorities, Aryan gets a lesson of fitting into the everyday life in Hungary from Gabor only to soon learn the harsh reality of the world he is part of and just how the people it in will use him solely for his ability.

 

Thoughts on Jupiter’s Moon

 

Characters – Gabor Stern is a respected doctor in Hungary, he gives up his own time to help the refugees in the camps even though this latest visit changes his life forever, because he meets a young man is amazing abilities which puts him against the law to help teach the man about the culture of Hungary. He does come off selfish at times with his motivations to help Aryan but as the film does he will learn the lessons needed. Aryan is the young man shot only to survive the bullet wounds because of his ability to escape difficult situations and enter Hungary on the more legal methods. In the rest of the characters we learn about a cop that is chasing down the refugee and the woman that Gabor is seeing who must decide who see will support.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good through the film, we mainly focus on Merab Ninidze and Zsombor Jeger who show good chemistry on screen together, we see the naivety from the younger actor for his character and the parental figure in the older.

StoryThe story follows a refugee that has unseen abilities that is taken in by a doctor who wants to use his abilities to get financial benefits while also showing him how to fit into society, we do get to touch on the difficult subject of how refugees are treated as terrorist if they are from the countries that are involved in conflict. This is an interesting story because if this had been a straight drama we might not have enjoyed on the same level, but the added sci-fi elements making this young man different are what makes this story feel unique while approaching the subject in question.  

Sci-FiThe sci-fi elements in the film focus on the young man with the abilities people can’t explain, being able to fly and float away from problems.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, first we get to see how compact and difficult the refugee camps are on the people, the rest is set in Hungary which is a nice city to be able to travel around for a film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are simple, they show how people are reacting to seeing Aryan floating without needing to give him anything to make him look like a superhero or anything.


Scene of the Movie –
The train incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are certain scenes we don’t need in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting sci-fi film that adds this elements to the serious nature of refugees needing to be able to find a safe place to call home.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi Different.

Rating

 

 

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Director: Simon Kinberg

Writer: John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum (Screenplay) Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (Comic Book)

Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee

 

Plot: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.


Tagline – The Phoenix will rise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: X-Men: Dark Phoenix starts in the world where Charles Xavier’s (McAvoy) group of X-Men, Mystique (Lawrence), Beast (Hoult), Jean Grey (Turner), Scott (Sheridan), Storm (Shipp), Quicksilver (Peters) and Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee) are celebrated around the world for their efforts to rescue people where normal humans can’t reach, with their latest mission taking them to space, where Jean Grey gets infected by an unknown lifeforce.

Back on Earth Jean struggles to control this new power which will lead to tragic consequences with her needing to turn to Erik (Fassbender) for advice before being visited by the mysterious Vuk (Chastain) that wants the power within her.

 

Thoughts on X-Men: Dark Phoenix

 

Characters – Jean Grey is our central character in this film, we see how she has a troubled childhood, before being welcomed to the school, she has learnt to control her powers which become enhanced with the incident, to a level she can’t control anymore. Jean is left wondering who she can trust, Charles, Erik or Vuk, just to find her place in the world. Charles Xavier has seen his school become the place the President turns to, this has made him reckless with the behaviour, willing to risk them when he doesn’t need to, he must face the reality that his school will always be looked at differently and that he hasn’t always done thing correctly. Erik has once again returned to a quiet life, this time helping mutants have a place away from the world, he will do the best to stop any conflict until he learns what has happened.  Mystique continues to have the ability to question what Charles is doing, she wants to keep everybody safe, even if it means going against everything Charles is thinking. Beast is still believing in Charles, until the tragedy hits home, forcing him to question what is best for the students in the school and mutants alike. Scott does play the only character that Jean loves, he can help at times when she starts to lose control, while being one of the few people she wants to protect from the danger she is becoming. Storm, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler complete the X-Men team which sees him just being extra members of the fight for the most part. Vuk is the mysterious being that is searching for the power that has taken over Jean, she is the leader of a group that want this power for their own destructive motivations.

PerformancesThis film has a mix of performances, Sophie Turner does continue to struggle in the leading role, she just never manages to convince with the unsure factor of how she is feeling through the film. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are usually the standouts in these films, but they both don’t get to make the impact they have in the past. Nicolas Hoult does have good moments, but we would have liked more from him. Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee do everything asked in their roles, while Jessica Chastain seems to be wasted in the villainous role.

StoryThe story shows us a world where mutants are a welcome and used to help sav people around the world, when one of these missions goes wrong the mutants show the danger they can bring to the world, when one gets infected with an unknown power which makes them the most powerful person in the world, while a new group wants that power. It is nice to see the story continue to show how the world has changed from the events in the previous films, even if it does throw a lot of the timeline out the window. We do follow certain lines that we did follow in The Last Stand too, which didn’t feel fresh, the script does have some awful lines which doesn’t help either. Now on the positive side of the story, we do get to flip Charles’s characters showing that he isn’t the all positive figure, it does make him the focus of the story at times though, we do get to see some of the other X-Men unleash their powers is nice to see too. This could easily be one of the weakest stories in the X-Men universe and you can see just how difficult it was.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does have a couple of entertaining moments that do get to see just how powerful each mutant can be when unleashed to their full powers. We do hit new levels for the sci-fi elements as we see the new enemy and power.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us the best looking settings, most action sequences actually feel like they are just on sets, never inside an environment.

Special EffectsThe effect in the film give us a weird look to the design of the power that is coming over Jean, which does work in places, though it doesn’t look overly interesting in when it comes to the wounds.


Scene of the Movie –
The train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We should be called X-Women.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable addition to the X-Men franchise, with simple acting and mostly safe actions.

 

Overall: Basic-Men

Rating