Alien: Covenant in D-Box Mode!

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 7.17.15 PMCan we ever get enough Alien? The answer is a resounding “NO!” with all the technologies coming about such as D-Box. I have to admit, paying twice as much for a theater ticket was a bit of a letdown, but I figured it was worth a shot. The question remains, “Was it worth it?”

The typical Alien movies follow a specific formula of those venturing into the unknown and locating exactly that. This sequel is no different. I can’t give away the ending except to say it was predictable for anyone with any type of film attending experience.

The added shock of the D-Box perked up the effects a bit though. At first, shifting from side to side was a bit blasé, but during the startling portions, the movie became more of a carnival ride. The surprising jerking motion will be exceptional during horror shows. Was it worth the extra $? I agree with Jon. The awesomely cool part is that the seat literally adjusts to the weight of the person seated. How do I know this is true? I started off sitting between my son and his friend until Cameron decided he wanted to reach the popcorn himself, rather than suffer through having momma bird feed him by the handfuls. Jarom was the official popcorn holder. However, when we switched seats, I felt my seat lower to the added weight. Yes, I’m about 60 lbs. heavier than my son. I had to readjust the high-impact setting because everything reset. Then I was off vibrating and jerking back and forth as usual. And don’t think you can get into the theater with normal seats and switch out — it doesn’t work.

However, when we switched seats, I felt my seat lower to the added weight. Yes, I’m about 60 lbs. heavier than my son. I had to readjust the high-impact setting because everything reset. Then I was off vibrating and jerking back and forth as usual. And don’t think you can get into the theater with normal seats assigned and switch out — it doesn’t work. One of the aspects a bit unnerving is that the point-of-view of the chair shifting switched from one character or scene to another. At one point in the movie, the scenes were flipping from the starship to the ground and back again — one rumbling and the other still. My innards eventually became confused with where I was going and made me a tiny bit nauseous.

As far as the film goes, there is one portion where there was an uncomfortable hush that fell over the crowd until one person burst into laughter followed by the entire theater. Only those with perverted minds will pick up on the alternate humor. Since I was with my teen son, I did my best not to participate. Unfortunately, he picked up on it regardless. I suppose that’s why it’s rated R. And there are a couple of pretty big names for a second including James Franco and Guy Pearce who followed suit.

Katherine Waterston and Michael Fassbender, along with Billy Crudup and Danny McBride had some awesome chemistry. Not as good as a couple of others who didn’t start off in a relationship though… nudge, nudge. Then again, Michael didn’t really have that option in this film.

There were a couple of flaws in the storyline such as where David managed to create the bottles for his experiments on this new planet. And other issues I can’t reveal without giving the context of the film away, but they’re quite obvious for those who think for themselves. Just take it with a grain of salt and be entertained.

My rating on this Ridley Scott wonder would be a 7-star score without the additional $8 for the seat upgrade, which puts it at a 7.5. Make sure to set your seat at the high vibration rate unless you get motion sickness. After a 2-hour movie, that could be a bit much for the sensitive stomach. Otherwise, it’s totally worth the extra perk!

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Who Looks into a Black Mirror?

 

When I was a kid, and even through adulthood, I wasn’t really a fan of films depicting the bad guy chasing people around and killing them. To me, those were all the same movie with different background settings with minor adjustments of tools. What I loved were movies that made me think, “Could that really happen?” After all, if it could, what were the chances of it happening to me? For that, I was a huge fan of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Sci-fi is for the mentally streaming folks, I guess.

Later on, although the concepts were still there, the effects of the old monochrome stories lost some of their pizzazz. Have no fear; Netflix is here to remedy that small discrepancy with a Britsh show entitled Black Mirror. The title alone makes a person consider what maniacal thinking is behind it.

Though the subject matter is more open and modernized with shows containing lesbians and young boys “entertaining themselves,” there are not graphic visuals. And the main focus isn’t sex, but if we’re going to talk modern, let’s face it, there’s going to be some mention of it. But the point of what you don’t know is made clearly. And just as at the end of the aforementioned movies where the viewer would lift his brows at the end and say, “Ah, I get it!” This show does that as well.

If you are someone who enjoys messing with your own brain with little mind games to keep you sharp, get that mental exercise! Here’s one of my favorites’ synopsis: “An American traveler short on cash signs up to test a revolutionary new gaming system, but soon can’t tell where the hoot game ends and reality begins.” It could happen!

Playtest

Aw, this little gopher is so adorable — what could possibly go wrong?

Written by Charles Brooker, a 46-year-old English satirist who definitely knows what he’s doing by sharing his twisted visions!

On a scale of 1 – 10 stars, this one gets an 8.

TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY

 

Having read the book for my own school studies in college, I only read it because of it being an assignment. I didn’t feel like wrapping myself up in an unstable way of thinking would benefit me. Everyone has pain, this is true. And the physical and mental changes of puberty certainly impact them tremendously, but is this work fanning the fire? By getting in the hands of the right student, certainly, the way any medication has the ability to do. But I have two kids, a 15-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. Do I think it’s acceptable for them to watch? Read on, because suicides are among us at all ages.

Now Netflix has created a one-season drama surrounding the novel and the results are like a hot iron across the face of America. Some are standing in protest, some embrace the openness of the subject, and others consider the work acceptance of their own suicidal behavior – actually prompting kids to consider the option.

What’s the difference between reading a book and seeing a movie? First, the content. The book is written from Hannah’s perspective, never allowing us to understand the other characters’ opinions or their experiences into why their minds perceive things in a specific way. The book doesn’t allow the clear insight for us to understand the other characters as emotional people – just “the others” who are to blame. But the book is also a lot less graphic in the sexual scenes, teen drinking, vicious behavior, and blood.

The movie, on the other hand, allows us into a close and personal view of why the other characters are doing what they do – the abuse they’re surviving, the secrets of their own lives they’re hiding, etc. Nobody’s perfect – truly, but that doesn’t mean people stop striving for the perfectionism their parents, teachers, siblings, and romantic interests anticipate. People expect a lot. And the more they get, the more they need. This is why perfectionism is never quite met.

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In our society, special fx disguise the reality of film, literature has a faster pace, even discussions at school at more exposed than what was acceptable years ago. Advertising suffocates us on the freeways, in magazines, on television and movie screens. Blemish-free and thin heroes adorn the scenery beckoning others to “get fit” and eat this way or that. “Copy me!” they seem to shout. And here they are again.

At the beginning of the article, I presented the question as to whether or not this material should be shared with our youth. This depends on the parents and the relationship with their children. My two kids? Yep, they saw it. However, eyes were shielded as Hannah held the razor to her wrist and a few other choice scenes where descriptions suffice. They didn’t need to see the act to understand what was happening – after all, the entire show centered around suicide. But, I would stop the show every once in a while and we would discuss some of the alternatives Hannah could have made at that point. For example, going to parties in high school where parents aren’t visible but underaged drinking is? A clear invitation to disaster.

Some of the scenes were clearly fictitious, such as a whiskey flask at a school dance being openly passed between students – doesn’t happen. And half the student body appears tattooed when you are to be 18 before a parlor legally sees you without parental consent. Other things were easily imagined, such as the graffiti on the bathroom walls at the school, and photos being taken and shared among peers. I’ve seen some of these things myself and often wondered what words the students must hear throughout the day before witnessing it permanently on a wall or on a screen. And how much of the crap is hearsay or completely made up by some girl who wasn’t chosen as a prom date, or a guy who was one-upped by another? It happens.

If you plan on having your child watch this show, please be responsible enough to watch it and discuss what is happening. If you decide not to watch it, make sure your child has made the same decision. If not, chances are they’ll watch it without you.

By the way, producer Selena Gomez states we should all be prepared for the next season. I suppose it stirred up enough controversy, producers have decided to wring it out for what it’s worth! Seems like they took a pseudo positive spin and took off while it’s hot. While some argue the sex, violence, drinking and tattoos boasts a “reality check” for kids, others may disagree. Then again, we may need to stop and ask where our focus is.

 Core Cast
Dylan Minnette Dylan Minnette
 Clay Jensen (13 episodes, 2017)
Katherine Langford Katherine Langford
 Hannah Baker (13 episodes, 2017)
Christian Navarro Christian Navarro
 Tony Padilla (13 episodes, 2017)
Alisha Boe Alisha Boe
 Jessica Davis (13 episodes, 2017)
Brandon Flynn Brandon Flynn
 Justin Foley (13 episodes, 2017)
Justin Prentice Justin Prentice
 Bryce Walker (13 episodes, 2017)
Miles Heizer Miles Heizer
 Alex Standall (13 episodes, 2017)
Ross Butler Ross Butler
 Zach Dempsey (13 episodes, 2017)
Devin Druid Devin Druid
 Tyler Down (13 episodes, 2017)
Amy Hargreaves Amy Hargreaves
 Lainie Jensen (13 episodes, 2017)
Derek Luke Derek Luke
 Kevin Porter (13 episodes, 2017)
Kate Walsh Kate Walsh
 Olivia Baker (13 episodes, 2017)

 

 

 

 

Going in Style is a Stylish Riot

When Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin team up for a comedy, hold onto your britches, because you’re going to need a grownup diaper by the time this is over!

As a little kid, I always thought grownups were proper and their sense of humor fades, but that isn’t right at all. When Zach Braff took on this film, he knew the casting director did the job right. There is no better choice for a cast for a film of this magnitude.

A trio of men who had been friends forever grow sick and tired of taking it up the rear by the big companies who sucked the life out of them in the first place – from the company they worked at forever to the banks. They must decide to take it lying down or climb up on the mechanical bull for one final ride, and you know what they choose. It’s that ride that lets you know not to let your guard down with grandma and grandpa – you never know what they’ll do next. Rob a bank? Perhaps.

Until you see the movie, catch a glimpse of what makes it so damned funny.

 

In my book of 10 stars — this film gets a fairly secure 8.

Beauty and the Feast for Your Eyes

Everyone is familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, so it’s always a special treat when a new release comes out on video, especially with the FX cropping up weekly. I planned on going with a Meetup Group, sort of a girls’ night out, without kids. I cried a few times and was relieved my kids didn’t see me blubber like a baby. Of course, if I’d gone to the correct theater, the group would have seen me sobbing. That’s right, I was in my recliner watching the movie all alone. I was also relieved I was alone when 1/4 of the way through, I realized I had accidentally put my workout bra on. It was pinching me ruthlessly throughout the movie, until I did the old “pull your arms into your sleeves and take the bra off” trick, stuffing it into my purse. Again, glad to have no witnesses.

As far as Emma Watson goes, she’ll always have that innocent and childlike glow about her, but Luke Evans as “Gaston”? Now there’s a prize to sing about! Sure, he’s sort of a jerk, unlike the other roles he’s played, and it was a nice switcheroo for a change, but he’s always hot. His sidekick LaFou, played by Josh Gad (the fun voice playing “Olaf” in Frozen) did a fabulous job as he always does. And the two of them appear to get along marvelously, as they do on this prank! But even being naughty, Luke Evans couldn’t be on Santa’s Naughty List because, according to Gaston, he’s worth every look. And, as a single, middle-aged divorcee, I’d have to agree. Still, all three men got along great.

The animation of the film was beautifully done with only a few, minor errors, but a film is film and the important aspects are the storyline and actors, like one of my favorites, Kevin Kline. There were some big names involved in this movie, most of whom couldn’t be placed by their voice alone, as Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci are a couple of my all-time favorites.

No gore or specifically scary images, unless you count the Beast, but that’s not unexpected. And quite frankly, with those blue eyes, I sort of liked the big hairy Beast a fraction more than the timid-looking Dan Stevens. I’m unsure why, but he didn’t come across as the hero type if you get what I mean. He danced okay, but imagining him fighting off wolves? Not so much. Believe this role should have been someone brawnier.

Would my kids have enjoyed it? I doubt it. They’d rather see Boss Baby with Alec Baldwin. This movie was sort of a split. The storyline clung to the original tale for the most part, but the emotional state was for the more mature crowd.

I know everyone was ranting and raving over this movie’s original showing, but I’m glad I didn’t rush for tickets. Perhaps it would have been better in 3D. It’s evident a lot of time, energy, money, and overall work went into the making. I give it three stars.  *  *  *

 

Logan’s Alcoholism Slows his Mentality

Let’s make this clear. The movie is anything but slow, as the action seldom with this all-star cast refuses to let the average movie-goer use the restroom, much less get a drink, without knowing ahead of time they’re making a choice of missing something grand. (Be sure and empty your bladder before you get comfy.) Hugh Jackman has made Wolverine synonymous with himself, as always, in the latest X-men film. Someday, when he’s old and gray, finding a replacement will prove next to impossible. Until then, women are as pleased as ever to see his wide and expanding chest stretched across an IMAX screen whenever possible. Seems the men are just as impressed for different reasons, but everyone agrees he’s a hell of an actor. Jackman doesn’t let anyone down here. However, alcoholic Wolverine appears to have a mental disconnect and requires Xavier to club him over the head in revealing his secret.

Patrick Stewart is his usual sardonic personality but seems a bit off in this film as he introduces Logan to a child born of Wolverine’s loins several times. Of course, shortly after, he says “adios” to the cast. But no matter how many times Xavier tells his friend, Logan just doesn’t seem to understand. Perhaps Logan feels as if the child was born from a bender and doesn’t want to face his alcoholism. I suppose this isn’t that uncommon.

When Logan realizes Laura (Dafne Keen), is his own child, he appears pleased that she’s as independent as she is — like her hairy father and plots to save her life. Although the filmmakers discovered Dafne in the UK after scouring the planet for the perfect actress, the eleven-year-old does an amazing job as a Latin speaking immigrant. The first half of the film, she manages to get her points across without uttering a single word. She’s born for film acting with her acrobat and gymnastic skills, as well as being bilingual, and having an expressive face.

Comedian and many-coat-wearing talent Stephen Merchant is another name that isn’t as big as it deserves to be — yet, anyway. His versatile and charismatic charm is finally getting the attention it deserves as he plays Caliban, a bug-eyed, pale-faced sidekick to the X-men. Though he’s suffered many times before, his character suffers greatly in this role. Let’s just say he’s far from getting the golden tan of George Hamilton.

If you’re wanting to get your money’s worth, this movie is a terrific way to escape the little ones for an adult night out. It’s rated R, so count on a lot of blood and slicing as Wolverine and his new genetic offspring kick some egotistical ass. The stunts of bodies spiraling in the air leave a bit to be desired, but the plot and other effects graciously camouflage the awkward rotations.

This show gets 4 out of 5 stars in our book of movie ratings.

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The problem with serial movies is the writers become lazy and figure they’ve won the audience, and even if the sequel stinks, they’ll get their fans’ invested dollars. Sort of like, “If you build it, they will come,” because the ratings are already there. That’s why there are so many sequels to begin with when making movies and remakes. Fortunately for the fans of Avengers, this film was written with high tenaciousness. The audience will revel and cheer while sitting back and observing what happens when Joss Whedon does his magic.

In order to simplify the 2 hour and 21 minute feature by revealing the best part, let me start by saying the whole movie was fairly kick ass. In fact I didn’t even know until the credits at the end that James Spader is Ultron, and boy did he nail it! The usual suspects punch their way across the screen with characters Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Their interviews always lead the viewer inside to the personalities of the actors, which is always fascinating when revealing their characters strengths and weaknesses.

This PG-13 movie’s rating boasts high due to the astounding special effects created using CGI by their artists. With a 220 million dollar budget, this film made over $200 million it’s first weekend, but with the last movie grossing over $1.5 billion, this won’t leave any workers of this project in the bread line.

With this film performing so well at the box office, either we can anticipate an even better film from Joss Whedon with Avengers, or waiting for the next and greater work of him could be anything – perhaps a movie about a young displaced school girl making the most of an unfamiliar situation? Who knows? One thing we all know is that it’s bound to be a blockbuster.

Joss Whedon is the sails beneath artist Stan Lee's wings.

Joss Whedon is the sails beneath artist Stan Lee’s wings.

On the Ten-Star Review, this movie receives a 9!

The only reason this work doesn’t receive a 10 is we want some space for improvement on the next venture.