Welcome! I'm MovieKnight

Movies are my passion. Movies are my life. If you can't talk about movies, I can't talk to you.
I don't have a "5 Stars" or "two thumbs up" rating system of my own. I rarely see a rating I agree with, and I'm not about to make the same mistake myself.
I do my best to make this blog interesting, useful, and informative.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Robocop (February 12, 2014) PG-13

Robocop's owners made him black so he'd appear more
"Tactical."  Here we see him on his cycle.
(Photo taken from ruthlessreviews.com)

Joel Kinnaman (Safe House, The Darkest Hour)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, The Book of Eli)
Michael Keaton (Batman, Beetlejuice)
Abbie Cornish (A Good Year, Seven Psychopaths)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Shutter Island)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Pulp Fiction)

Waaaaaaaaaaay smarter and better than I expected from a Robocop reboot.

In the not-so-distant future, Detective Alex Murphy ends up on the wrong side of a car-bomb and wakes up "Robocop"!  I wanna say "half man--half machine," but really it was more like 1 part man--9 parts robot.

Is there a right side of a car-bomb?

Immediately questions of free will and "How do we control him?" begin arising and the deeper plot is revealed.  What does it mean to be human?  What makes us human?  How do we maintain our humanity in an inhuman world?

This movie really struck home for me too, because when Murphy began "acting up" drugs were used to
Murphy, having seen some action, has a "sit down."
(Photo taken from insidemovies.ew.com)
control his behavior, and made him act inhuman and soulless.  Reminded me of when I was on Ritalin... 

The acting from Kinnaman as Alex Murphy/Robocop was spot-on also.  Especially during those scenes where he acted totally robotic.  Maybe Kinnaman took Ritalin for those scenes so he could be "dead inside" more effectively.  Ritalin would do it.

Michael Keaton plays Raymond Sellars CEO of Omnicorp,
the multi-billion dollar company who developed Robocop.
(Photo taken from Movieweb.com)
The computer animation was seamless.  Throughout the movie there were sophisticated robots walking around interacting with humans, and at no point did I go, "Oh look a computer animated robot!"

One of the coolest parts, and my Brother-in-law, James agrees, was when Robocop did what he was made to do.  He chose a suspect, integrated with surveillance to find a last known location, and if he couldn't find one he'd find known associates, track them, and get them to talk.  Smart action.  Not a second wasted.

I highly recommend this movie.  I don't wanna call it just a "guy movie," because it's more than that.  This movie has heart, brains, a good plot, and great acting.  Definitely a different role than I'm used to seeing Keaton in, also...

Here's a list of actors who auditioned for, turned down roles for, or were approached to be in Robocop:
Edward Norton
Michael Fassbender
Matthias Schoenaerts
Russell Crowe
Hugh Laurie
Clive Owen
Rebecca Hall
Jessica Alba
Keri Russell
Kate Mara
Sean Penn
Gael Garcia Bernal
Alexander Skarsgard
Logan Marshall-Green

"Thank you for your cooperation."

The Lego Movie (February 7, 2014) PG

Naturally, they made a video game too.  Probably
TONS of fun... hmmm... Red Box?
(Photo taken from nintendoeverything.com)
Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, Moneyball)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect)
Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men)
Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Pacific Rim)
Will Ferrell (Step Brothers, The Other Guys)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)
Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street, Moneyball)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins, Taken)
Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, 21 Jump Street)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, The Vow)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, The Ladies Man)
Anthony Daniels (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)

Liam Neeson as "Bad Cop" next to
Will Ferrell as "Lord Business"
(Photo taken from nerdist.com)
Legos?  Batman?  Histerically typical "chosen one" plot with anti-establishment undertones throughout?

If you like those things then you'll LOVE The Lego Movie.

The cast is great!  All of them, they were brilliant!  Liam Neeson especially stood out as Good Cop/Bad
Cop.  His character had a lot of depth and heart.

As a kid I grew up with tubs of Legos.  I made a LOT of spaceships... so I found Charlie Day's character especially relate-able.
Emmet (our main hero) played by Chris Pratt, next to
Batman played by Will Arnett.
(Photo taken from Businessinsider.com)

I saw this with my sister, Jewely, and her husband, James.  We all laughed really hard throughout.

This is a movie for everyone.  Especially families.  Don't feel dumb if you're an adult going to see this with other adults, because this is the best animated movie I've seen since Wreck-It Ralph.

Factoid: The entire movie is computer animated, but designed to look like stop-motion Lego effects.  I myself wondered numerous times throughout the movie, "Is this computer animated?"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Elysium (August 9, 2013) R

A shot from space of the Elysium space station with earth in the background
The giant space-station Elysium orbiting earth
(Photo taken from wired.com)

Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, True Grit, The Bourne Identity)
Sharlto Copley (District 9, The A-Team)
Jodie Foster (Taxi Driver, Panic Room, Flightplan)
Alice Braga (I Am Legend, Repo Men, Predators)

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp (District 9)

Once again Microsoft is kicking itself in its own butt HARD for not working with Neil Blomkamp to make a Halo movie.  This movie was a bloody, gritty, hard-shooting middle finger to Microsoft.  Blatantly and hilariously.  I love it.
Matt Damon as Max
(Photo taken from magazine.foxnews.com)

Read my blog, how often have I referenced the director of the films I review?

Matt Damon plays the ex-con gone factory-employee who is quickly thrust from a dead-end but steady industrial job to dying.  Radiation overdose, "In five days you will die," said the robot EMT who treated Damon's character Max.

And Max is appropriately named because he no longer gets his five-day death sentence that he decides to bring the pain to the people who sentenced him by going after Elysium--the halo-shaped off-world luxury space station where the rich, famous, and powerful live in a world separated by thousands of miles from earth and its burned-over poverty.

Sharlto Copley delivered as always with his debut antagonist role of Kruger, the ruthless and over-the-top sleeper agent who lives on earth, but serves at the mercy of the powerful President and the Defense Secretary (Foster).

I don't wanna give away too much, but as I was watching Copley all I thought was, "The next Joker...?!?!"  I don't know any other actor who could follow up Heath Ledger's portrayal of the iconic Batman villain.

Sharlto Copley for Joker.  Let's make signs.
Sharlto Copley as Kruger
(Photo taken from fansshare.com)

If you like District 9; you'll LOVE Elysium.

If you like smart action movies; you'll LOVE Elysium.

If you like Elysium; you should LOVE Elysium.

Factoid: Blomkamp worked with Weta Workshop--the same special effects company who did District 9, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Hobbit trilogy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ender's Game (November 1, 2013) PG-13

Asa Butterfield (Hugo, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)
Harrison Ford (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Romeo and Juliet)
Ben Kingsley (Hugo, Shutter Island, Gandhi)
Aramis Knight (The Dark Knight Rises)

Ender about to start a competitive game
with Colonel Graff watching
(Photo taken from hollywoodreporter.com)
I read the book of the same title, as well as its twin brother Ender's Shadow.  Both books are excellent.

As a fan of the book, I am disappointed with this movie.  They skipped over so so many brilliant parts of the book.

I call this movie, "a skeleton of the Ender's Game book."  No guts, no meat, no brain--just a skeleton that resembles what the book is.

People who never read the book liked this movie, from talking to some friends of mine.  So that's something, I suppose.

But me, I will never see this movie again if I can avoid it.  It could have been so much.  It could have been Good Will Hunting meets Lord of the Flies meets Starship Troopers with a $110 million budget.  Instead we got a rushed, "let's get this movie over with" disappointment that made me depressed the rest of the night.
Asa Butterfield filming one of the school battle scenes
(Photo taken from hollywoodreporter.com)

Shame on you, Director Gavin Hood.  You ruined X-Men Origins: Wolverine and now you've ruined Ender's Game.  Seriously, shame on you.

Factoid: The U.S. Marine Corps has Ender's Game on its recommended reading list for officers, because of its lessons in "training methodology, leadership, and ethics."

Gravity (October 4, 2013) PG-13

Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality, The Lake House, The Blind Side)
George Clooney (The Perfect Storm, Ocean's Eleven, Up in the Air)

Bullock and Clooney working on Hubble
(Photo taken from telegraph.co.uk)
This movie deserves the Best Picture Oscar.

I'm really glad I saw this in 3D.  This was one of the most intense, white-knuckling experiences I've ever seen on the big screen.

This was that movie you saw trailers for where Bullock and Clooney are working on Hubble when it's suddenly impacted by high-speed space debris.  The rest is a battle for survival primarily featuring Bullock.

In a day where I feel like I've already seen it all, this movie is ground-breaking.
Bullock on an International Space Station
(Photo taken from digitaltrends.com)

I LOVED Gravity.

Factoid #1: If the events in Gravity really occured it would make space travel impossible for decades, according to NASA scientist Donald Kessler

Factoid #2: Sandra Bullock underwent 6 months of physical training to prepare for this film.  She is on camera nearly the entire time.

Inception (July 16, 2010) PG-13

(I wrote this FOREVER ago, but never Published it...)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Cobb) watching Ellen Page (Ariadne)
as she changes his dream world on a big scale
(Photo taken from trailers.apple.com)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo + Juliet 1996, Hoover 2012)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick 2005, Live With It 2010)
Tom Hardy (Eddit and the Cruisers 1983, Last Will 2010)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins 2005, Shanghai 2010)
Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins 2008, At Swim-Two-Birds 2010)
Dileep Rao (Drag Me To Hell 2009, Avatar 2009)
Ellen Page (Hard Candy 2005, Super 2010)
Marion Cotillard (Nine 2009, A Good Year 2006)
Pete Postlethwaite (Romeo + Juliet 1996, The Town 2010)
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight 2008, Gnomeo and Juliet 2011)
Lukas Haas (Brick 2005, Crazy Eyes 2010)

Even though the previews made this movie seem too good to be true, I STILL was not disappointed. In fact, this movie was even better than expected. I entered the theater with NO idea what I was in for, and left the theater raving and wanting to see Inception a second, third, and fourth time while it's still in theaters.
DiCaprio (Cobb) worried he's still in a dream
(Photo taken from collider.com)

The film features a few of Director Christopher Nolan's personal favorite people (Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Watanabe). It was cool to see them together again, even though they never had any scenes together in Batman Begins.

The film was extremely modern, in fact it's unclear when the story takes place, but I believe it takes place in the near future.

In order to understand what this movie is about (because the trailers are ambiguous) you must understand two words/ideas. The first is "extraction."

Extraction is the idea of entering a person's mind through their dreams, exploring around, and gathering information from the person that they would never--in the waking world--divulge freely.

Inception is the idea of going into a person's mind through their dreams with the intent and purpose of planting an idea in the person's mind--an idea that will take hold even in the waking world. An idea that person will act upon. This concept is believed to be impossible...

Gordon-Levitt (Arthur) in combat with gravity acting up...
(Photo taken from moviemail.com)
What surprised me about this movie was the amount of action in it. I went into the theater expecting an intellectually intriguing film (which it was), but I was not expecting it to be so completely action-packed.

Factoid: Many Hollywood producers and executives thought that this high-budget drama-action film would do poorly in theaters because it was "too smart" for audiences.  $160 million budget, but the film's gross worldwide ticket sales exceeded $825 million, landing it in the top 50 top grossing movies of all time.

Lone Survivor (January 10, 2014) R

(Left to right) Taylor Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg,
Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch
(Photo taken from fool.com)
Mark Wahlberg (The Departed, The Other Guys)
Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, John Carter)
Ben Foster (Alpha Dog, The Messenger)
Emile Hirsch (Alpha Dog, Into the Wild)
Eric Bana (Troy, Star Trek)

Bone-breakingly intense.

Those parts in the preview where you see the Navy Seals rolling down the mountain, and you think, "Wouldn't that hurt a Lot?"
YES.  They get hurt A LOT A LOT.
Ben Foster who plays Matt "Axe" Axelson

The acting was superior.  It really was.  But I think the acting was boosted quite a bit by the fact that Director/Writer Peter Berg (The Rundown, Hancock) seemed to have done a TON of homework on real-life military procedures, proper Seal lingo, and what happened to these real heroes.

Marcus Luttrell played by Mark Wahlberg
Seriously, this wasn't one of those dumb, shoot-em-up movies where the hero stands in the open hip-firing head-shots while the dumb bad guys can't hit squat.  This movie was SMART.  It was as smart as it was painful to watch sometimes.  Especially since it's based on a true story.

I always thought that whole Marine Corp, "You got shot?  Rub some dirt in it!"-thing was just a saying, like an inside joke or something.  Didn't know it was literal...

This is one of those movies that everyone should see so that we can better appreciate the sacrifices that our soldiers make for world freedom.  It's not for the feint of heart, though...

Taylor Kitsch who play Michael Murphy
I loved this movie, and I plan on seeing it a second time.  Not right away though, because it was really hard to watch at points.

Factoid: Despite the big names starring in this film, the total budget was only $40 million.  The Director, Peter Berg, accepted the minimum Director salary that the Director's Guild allows ($17,000/week) and both Wahlberg and Kitsch took major salary cuts.

Factoid: SEAL Marcus Luttrell was awarded the Navy Cross, and SEAL Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.