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Sunday, August 24, 2014

TMNT **1/2

The Turtles were originally made into TV cartoons to sell toys, which is a very effective strategy often used by the Pop Culture Illuminati to bore into kids brains. G.I. Joe and Transformers are other glaring examples of this. Though the TMNT franchise started out as a bona fide indie comic book success story - basically created on a kitchen table by Eastman and Laird back in the '80s - it only reached Pop Culture icon status as part of a well-orchestrated toy merchandising campaign. As a result, TMNT is another summer toy movie that can't decide if it's animated or live action.

The 3d looks 2d. Tedious digital rack focus and fake lens flares are tacked on in a desperate attempt to impart style to Lula Carvalhos’ hackneyed cinematography. The arch villain Shredder comes off as something out of Power Rangers. Basically someone in a suit stomping around a miniature set, like the old Ultraman. The Turtles' characterization doesn't help to give them personality either and they can only be told apart by the color of their bandanas.

Megan Fox as the only standout provides tame sex appeal. This is paradoxically a good role for her and jives well with her Transformers past. Her crossing of the desert must be over as Michael Bay and the Hollywood bigwigs have re-evaluated her box office draw despite the 5 or so last bombs she did (Jonah Hex anyone?) It's too bad Minae Noji as Kari doesn't quite come off as the hot villainess. Poor costume design hid rather than highlighted her assets. The rest of the cast is forgettable. (Is Whoopie Goldberg secretly one of the turtles?)

Sophomoric humor, great for 9 year olds or mentally equivalent adults.

The opening titles are the best part of this 101-minute toy commercial.

Review by Mike Hammer

Director: Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath Of The Titans, Battle Los Angeles)
Written by: Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Alias TV show)
TMNT originally created by: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman

Caption contest for this photo: use the comment area below...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy ****1/2


Blockbuster marries cult.

Star Wars meets Blade Runner meets The Watchmen. Like riding the Shinkansen high on LSD, this movie is a psychedelic trip the likes of which Ridley Scott and George Lucas could only dream of making back in the dark ages.

A sexy green girl and a sexy blue girl (Zoe Saldana & Karen Gillan), a wiseass raccoon (Brad Cooper), a tree with limited vocabulary (Vin Diesel) and some apocalyptic villains will make you want to strap into the Milano and shoot off some plasma blasters.

Guardians of the Galaxy just put James Gunn's number on the red phone speed dial and made Chris Pratt every teenage girl's screensaver.

Cool factor: after watching this movie you will be scouring Ebay for a Sony TPS-L2 Walkman. While you're at it, go ahead and download "I'm Not In Love" by 10cc and "Cherry Bomb" by Joan Jett and The Runaways. Yes young ones, we know, we where there...

Only downer - soundtrack could have been tons better. The late 70s and early 80s had much better music to select from and any true Walkman sporting hypester would have been listening to the Dead Kennedys or Run DMC, but I digress.

Dead weight: John C Reilly and Glenn Close just feel like ballast brought on board to steady the ship when in fact they should have been jettisoned.

Did I mention mind bending special effects, the toroid shaped Dark Aster mothership, Benicio Del Toro, faceless necro-soldiers, an Infinity Stone ('an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it' says Wiki), fighting girls, Cosmo the Soviet space dog and Benicio Del Toro?

AND IT'S ALL IN 3D! In the future it will be cool to have seen this movie in the past.


Review by Feeney Last


Director & screenwriter: James Gunn
Camera: Ben Davis
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan Brad Cooper and Benicio Del Toro.
Effects: Framestore, Moving Picture Company; Luma Pictures; Method Studios; Lola VFX; Cantina Creative; Sony Pictures Imageworks; CoSA VFX; Secret Lab; Rise Visual Effects Studios; Technicolor VFX; Industrial Light & Magic.