It is Judgment Time!

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I have posted about Judge Dredd a lot on this site, and I have even told you to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray of the current film, not the Stallone version I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, but I decided I hadn’t reviewed the movie myself, and after this I promise (fingers crossed) not to type about Dredd so much.

Dredd’s basic story is that Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is forced to try out a new rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), and Judge Anderson decides to check out a triple homicide in the Peach Trees mega block, a two hundred story sky scrapper that houses seventy-eight thousand people, and while there they run in to the Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) Clan who locks the block down and the Judges are in for a fight for their lives.

I think why this movie works so well is that it keeps everything basic.  The story is simple: fight your way up the block and deal with Ma-Ma.  They could have thrown in an origin story or decided to create a Anderson and Dredd romance, but instead they kept is simple.  Dredd/Anderson vs. Ma-Ma Clan: Fight!  That may sound dull but it works. They keep the action exciting and don’t drift off in to things that don’t matter or make sence.  They also could have tried to make this movie an epic and had block vs. block warfare or something, but instead they made it a simple ride along and it works perfectly.

Unlike most movies Dredd doesn’t really change in this movie, he has no arc, it could be argued that he does a little at the end, but I don’t think so.  Anderson does change, she becomes more like Dredd understanding what needs to be done to keep this massive city (180,000,000 people) sort of under control.

The actors all play their parts well.  Urban who never takes Dredd’s helmet off really gives his jaw a work out.  His sneers and frowns are wonderful.  Thirlby does a great job playing a person that is way over her head, but is trying to cope, and when she finally understands what needs to be done, she hits just as hard as Dredd.  Headey plays Ma-Ma perfectly, she doesn’t care about anything except getting what she wants and is completely ruthless.

If you haven’t figured it out by now.  I loved this movie, and if you like action movies then you need to check this flick out.  If you don’t like violent movies then this probably isn’t for you, and if you don’t want to take my word for it you should check out Daniel’s review.

Don’t your head on the Iron Sky!

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Iron Sky is a European film about Nazis invading earth from the Moon.  I could tell you who it is made by and who it stars, but that would be a waste of everyone’s time, but it does have a creepy German (Udo Kier) guy you may recognize.

The premise is that there are a group of Germans on the Moon waiting for the right time and technology to invade earth and finally win WWII.  They get the technology from an unwitting American astronaut.  That is pretty much it, and if that sounded good to you then it is a lot of fun.  If not I am guessing you haven’t read this far anyway.

I could go on about directing and if the actors are good, and they all do a pretty good job, but this is really just a camp Action Sci-Fi movie to have a few laughs and be amazed by the absurdity of it all.  If you are looking for the film equivalent of empty sugary calories then this is the movie for you.

Until next time, and watch the skies for Nazis!

Duck its Skyfall!

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Skyfall is the 23rd James Bond film in 50 years, and the third staring Daniel Craig, and somehow they still made a good and engaging film.  They got to take their time with this film and it showed.

The premise is that MI6 is under attack by a cyber-terrorist (Javier Bardem), and James Bond has to stop him before he uncovers, and releases, all MI6’s secrets.  This movie also asks the question to whether Bond is necessary in these modern time when we can just snoop on people over the internet.

Sam Mendes takes Bond back to his roots while modernizing the franchise.  He only gives bond a couple of tech toys to play with, but it really forces the movie to be on whether Bond is up to the challenge or not, not whether he has the right tools for the job, and he shows the effect of the technology on the spy game, with the tracking and hacking, and all the information we have at our fingers now.  He also knows what is important: he makes sure the action and fight sequences hard hitting and exciting.

The actors all do their jobs well too. Daniel Craig has become Bond, and he is starting rival Sean Connery with his identifiability with the character.  Javier Bardem knows how to play a bad guy, and his ability to make you hate him is great, and Dame Judi Dench is wonderful in this movie as the keeper of the old guard at MI6.  A person who always puts the job first no matter what the sacrifice, and showing the wear and tear that has on a person.

It obvious why it this was the most successful Bond of all time.  It hits all the right notes and it has a story that is relevant to our time.  Sam Mendes is in talks to do the next Bond movie as well, here is hoping!

Watch out for The Pirates!

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits (yes the exclamation point is part of the title) is a stop motion animation feature length film from Aardman Animations.  Aardman is known for their charming British humor, and they continue the trend with this film.

The movie starts as The Captain (Hugh Grant) tries and fails to be Pirate of the Year, but as luck would have it while plundering they capture Charles Darwin who informs The Captain that his parrot is in fact a dodo and that they could use it to win the Scientist of the Year award.  So they venture to pirate hating England to try and win the booty.

This movie isn’t especially deep it is mainly an exscuse to be silly, and silly it is.  It also does its best to charm you with its British wit.  I am a sucker for British wit, so I liked this movie quite a bit.  It is not a classic like Wallace and Gromit, but they do a good job, and with the short 88 minute run time there is no time to get bored.

I love stop motion animation, and Aardman is one of the last few companies still keeping this style going.  I hope they continue to make these movies so I can continue to go to them. When I was a kid it was one of my favorite “When I grow up” job choices, so any movie with stop motion gets bonus points.

This movie is a good silly time waster, being stop motion and British kind of makes me like it just because it exists.  But despite all that I think you should watch it too, because we all need somthing fun and light hearted once and a while.

Be Brave!

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Brave is Pixar Animation Studio’s 13th full length movie, its first to feature a girl in the lead, and its first “Princess movie”.  Does this movie live up to the standards of previous Pixar movies?  Almost, but not quite.

Brave is about a young Scottish Princess, Merida, who is about to be betrothed to the winner of a skills competition, and she does not find any of the men to her liking, so she wins the competition herself, and runs away to try and change her fate.

Merida is a good character and I liked Pixar’s design of her, and I like the way they made her a free spirit, and not wanting her greatest asset to be that she is marriageable like some of the other Disney Princesses, but sadly the writing of the movie just wasn’t quit up to the usual Pixar standard.

The story doesn’t resonate like WALL-E, UP, or Toy Story 3, all of which are classics that make you laugh and cry regardless of your age.  Brave is just merely good, which for other animation houses is probably fine, but for Pixar is kind of a shame and a letdown.

The movie does look great and advances the things they can do with computer animation, and I am sure they are going to continue push the limits of their field.  I just hope they get back to doing what made their movies classics in the first place.

I used to get very excided for Pixar movies, and I hope they get back to their winning ways, but with their current focus on sequels, I am not sure that is going to happen.  I had high hopes for Brave, and it just didn’t live up to expectations.