Jun 1, 2014

Monthly Movie Recap - May 2014

Another month done already? I feel like I'm putting these monthly posts out every other week! I haven't' mentioned Letterboxd in awhile, so if you need a place to record/review/talk about the movies you watch and don't have enough social networks to do it on, c'mon over to Letterboxd and follow me.

Legends of Oz (2014)
This is somewhat based on the novel Dorothy of Oz written by L. Frank Baum's great-grandson. This isn't like most modern animated movies I enjoy, there's very little for the adult crowd in it. It felt like a completely different universe but that's probably because I'm used to the original. Overall, it was ok but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're taking kids.

Cool: Some of the cartoony stuff is fun
Lame: There's a bad guy in the real world trying to get people to leave their tornado trashed town, but they never really give a reason why. Does he want to build a new mall? Dorothy's voice gets annoying after awhile because she's using the "talk to little kids/dog" voice.
Rating: 4/10

Wizard of Oz at Symphony Hall

*The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Another viewing of the classic, but this time at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops providing the music! It was an amazing way to see the film. I really hope they can someday do Star Wars like this.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
I still haven't seen the first one but I think they covered everything well enough that it wasn't necessary. On the other hand, I'm a bit torn on how I feel about the movie overall. It's a great looking movie but needs some work combining the Parker/Spider-Man stories.

Cool: The relationship stuff; Garfield is great, he brings something to it that McGuire was lacking;
Lame: The bad guys! Electro feels like a knock off of Carrey's Riddler and needed to be in the movie more; And don't even get me started on the Rhino suit!
Rating: 6.5/10

*Planet of the Apes (1968)
This month's featured franchise. Years before I even saw the movie, I had the Power Records read along comic and listened to it all the time. It still holds up even today, I'm still impressed with the ape makeups. If you don't have time to watch the whole movie, there's a pared down 20 minute Twilight Zone version here.
Rating: 9/10

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Wow, this sequel blew my mind! There's no way I could have ever expected where they would go with the story. Love the Earth ruins and psychic weirdos. It's a little too convenient that the crew sent to find Taylor just happened through the same anomaly and the new lead looks a bit like Heston but those are minor nitpicks. The ending is abrupt but I guess that's how it has to be when you blow up the planet!
Rating: 8/10

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
So where do you go after blowing up Earth? You have Apes time travel back to "modern" day, of course! Cornelius and Zira are great characters and are a lot of fun to watch especially during the comedic parts. However, the end doesn't look so good for them when they're on the with their newborn son Caesar, who the government believes will be the downfall of humanity. Spoiler alert: they're right!
Rating: 6.5/10

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
The series has always had commentary on slavery and the military and that all comes full front in this one. It's almost 20 years after Escape (1991) and Caeser has grown up. Cats and dogs died off in 1983 so naturally people turned to Apes as their new pets. (Huh?!) In the ultimate irony, the peaceful couple's child is the one that incites the Ape rebellion against their human masters.
Rating: 7/10

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
As with almost any franchise, by the time you get to the fifth movie, there's not a lot left to cover. It tells an interesting story through flashback that sets up the future of the Apes timeline.
Rating: 5.5/10

Son of Batman (2014)
I don't follow DC comics like I do Marvel so these stories are almost always new to me. I'm not sure if it's the movie itself or my unfamiliarity with the DCU that made this one a little more than just ok for me.

Cool: Good to see some different villains like Deathstroke; Plenty of action & fighting
Lame: Damien comes off as a brat (is he supposed to?); Voice acting gets the job done but not great
Rating: 6/10

*Remote Control (1988)
I don't remember seeing this before, but there was no mistaking the mind control sound effect! This is a slice of 80s fun scifi/horror where aliens try to take over by making a VHS tape that turns its watchers homicidal.

Cool: 80s fashion! The 50s style movie within the movie; The cheesy way the events in "real life" mimic what happens on the VHS tape
Lame: 80s fashion!
Rating: 7/10

Future World: City of Mass Destruction (2012)
I watch a lot of bad movies on purpose, the kind of stuff you'd expect on MST3k. Except I don't watch the MST3k versions. I've sat through some "good" bad movies but this is the first one I couldn't finish. Apparently there's a whole sub-genre of low (no) budget gore flicks I've never come across where the sets are 99% green screen and they do things on a whole new level of cheap. These things alone didn't turn me off but the execution...

Cool: It kinda has a Heavy Metal vibe to it and I applaud them for that
Lame: It just wasn't that interesting. The whole movie looks like one of those Sega-CD games that use full motion video
Rating: N/A because I couldn't finish it. So much for Beast of the Bering Sea being the worst movie I'd see this year.

Manborg (2011)
The first movie I've watched from the massive pile I won from Cult Movie Mania.
This is in that same no budget zone as Future World but it had me from the start. Maybe it's because the film maker knew what kind of movie he was making and owned it. It doesn't try to be too serious and there's some comedic bits sprinkled among the over the top gore.

Cool: The badly dubbed Asian martial artist; Just about every cartoon laser sound you've ever heard; stop motion monsters
Lame: Yes, it's a cheaply made cheese-fest, but it's a damn fun movie
Rating: 5.5/10

S.O.S.: Save Our Skins (2014)
Ok, not technically a movie but 13 7-minute episodes. That adds up to 90 minutes or so, close enough!  This sci-fi/horror/comedy finds two geeks discovering they're the last two people on the planet, or so it seems. If you have FEARnet On Demand or BiteTV, definitely check this out.

Cool: The plot behind it all, once revealed, is fantastic; The Blue Monster
Lame: It needs better distribution, more people need to see this!
Rating: 7.5/10

*X-Men: First Class (2011)
Rewatched to prep for the next movie. Still a great film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) (Amazon exclusive pre-order)
Happy to say this continues the excellence started in First Class. Don't want to spoil anything so I'll just say I really enjoyed it and be sure to stay til the credits end. If trying to figure out the continuity between the original X-trilogy and the Wolverine movies made your head hurt, this is going to really confuse things! I think I have more questions about the timeline now.

Cool: They might not be the comic Sentinels but they are cool! Quicksilver rocked; New characters
Lame: Not thrilled with the way some of the First Class cast were explained away
Rating: 8.5/10

Month Total
 New: 10 (+1 incomplete)  Rewatch: 4

Year To-Date Final Total 
New: 42 (+1 incomplete)  Rewatch: 9

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