A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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Movie Review: The Tomorrow War

The Tomorrow WarThe Tomorrow War IMDB Link

Directed By: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons

My Rating:

I heard different things about this movie, but I generally avoid most reviews. Since the days of Siskel and Ebert nobody has come close to their caliber of movie analysis. Granted, I rarely agreed with Ebert who once said that a comic book movie wasn’t “realistic enough” … because comic book characters are real. Anyway, enough soapboxing about those guys, may they rest in peace.

This is a time travel movie and we all know how I feel about time travel movies, it’s rarely done right. However I really like Chris Pratt and I was very curious about this movie so why not check it out.

Quick Synopsis and My Review

A wormhole opens suddenly and armed soldiers come through. They say they are from the year 2050 and the humans are losing a war with an alien race. The population of the planet has been decimated to the point of extinction so they need to draft people from the past to fight a war in the future. The entire human race is at stake.

spoiler alert!!!

The following content contains spoilers for The Tomorrow War.

My father-in-law said this is “definitely a Matt movie” and I can’t argue with that. I did enjoy this movie and I may even watch it again some time. It does rely heavily on the suspension of disbelief and I will get to that in a bit. I cannot recall very many (if any) dramatic roles for Chris Pratt. I know the Jurassic World movies had their dramatic moments but those are more adventure driven than drama. However he’s always been Andy Dwyer and Starlord so this movie is definitely outside his typical range. In all honesty I think he did a pretty good job.

Also, J.K. Simmons is jacked in this. I mean, for 66 years old the dude looks like he could arm wrestle a grizzly bear. You may also recognize Hanna from the Dexter series.

A Paradox On Both Your Timelines

This is where the spoiler comes in so if you want to see the movie first, then stop reading. When Chris Pratt’s character is drafted and he’s sent into the future to fight the aliens his team is receiving their orders from a Colonel. It turns out that this Colonel is Pratt’s characters daughter, now an adult. In fact, not only is she a Colonel, she’s also an MIT trained bioengineer and she’s working on a toxin to kill the aliens.

When she creates the toxin she asks her dad (Pratt) to return to the past and synthesize the toxin and return to the future to eradicate the aliens. Things happen and he can’t return to the future, however they discover that the aliens have been on the planet for 1,000 years buried in ice in Russia.

This is where that suspension of disbelief comes into play. This movie creates a time paradox. Chris Pratt gets the toxin from biological material extracted from the alien in the future. Then he returns to the past and kills the alien using the toxin. So if he kills the alien in the past, how does it exist in the future to create the toxin in the first place? It’s a paradox but I think it’s just subtle enough that the suspension of disbelief works here.

Did you see it? What did you think of The Tomorrow War?

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

RTotD: The Dwindling Supply of Physical Movies

Dwindling Supply of Physical MoviesWhen I was in college I had a ritual every Tuesday. After classes were done for the day I drove to Best Buy. Tuesday’s is when new releases hit the store shelves and they were always on sale the week their first week. Lately I’ve noticed a terrible trend. A dwindling supply of physical movies in stores.

I’ve noticed it at Best Buy, Meijer and Target. The movie section used to span several rows of motion picture delectation. I’ve also noticed a dwindling presence of Blu-ray players available for purchase. This is all very disconcerting! I don’t always feel like streaming a movie. In fact, I rarely feel like streaming a movie!

Streaming Services Ruin Everything!

I’m not opposed to streaming services; actually I really enjoy them. We have accounts on several of the main services available, but I mostly use them to stream television series. My problem is I prefer to watch movies using my 4K setup with my own Blu-ray, sound system and television. I don’t want to always rely on an Internet connection to stream a 4k movie. Also, I don’t trust the steaming companies. They like to add things (ex: “MACLUNKEY!!”) or remove things to suite their political agenda.

It’s also not easy to find the movie I want. A lot of these streaming services cycle movies and no single streaming service has ALL the movies. Basically, if you want more variety, you have to subscribe to multiple services, which gets expensive. I got rid of cable so I didn’t have to pay the high price for television. I’m not going to turn around and pay the same amount of money subscribing to 14 different streaming services so I can access any movie I want at any given time.

Amazon still sells physical movies, which is fine, I can order it online and it’s “usually” delivered in about 24 hours. However, sometimes I don’t like to wait. Like most people these days, I want instant gratification. I’m curious about what the future of “home video” will look like. VHS replaced betamax, DVD replaced VHS, Blu-ray replaced DVD. Are streaming services on course to replace Blu-ray and, in turn, any form of physical movie? I’m not sure I’m a fan of that.

/cheers

The things that go through my mind when I’m alone with nothing but my thoughts for entertainment is dangerous. Some might even say eccentric. Consider this your warning about today’s Random Thought of the Day

 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984Wonder Woman 1984 IMDB Link

Directed By: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristin Wiig, Pedro Pascal

My Rating:

While this is my first movie review of 2021, I did not see this movie in 2021. In fact we watched this film on New Years Eve, so technically I saw this movie last year. However since it was a movie we watched in the evening, I did not have time to write up a review before 2020 ended. I think we were all ready for 2020 to be over.

The year is 1984 (obviously, by the title) and Diana is still going about her day covertly rescuing people and stopping crime. Although it’s been 40 years, she still laments the death of Steve Trevor and seems to accept the fact that she will always be alone. She befriends Barbara Minerva, a socially awkward archeologist and anthropologist who finds a particularly powerful artifact. An artifact that grants wishes, but at a terrible cost. Now she must stop The Cheetah and Max Lord from abusing the power of this “dream stone”. 

Biggs’ Review

I am really surprised to find so many low and harsh reviews of this movie. I’ll admit it isn’t as good as the first movie but I, honestly, didn’t think it was terrible. There isn’t as much action but Chris Pine provides sufficient comic relief. I really enjoyed Pedro Pascal’s (aka The Mandalorian) performance as Max Lord. Actually, if I’m being honest, Kristin Wiig is an excellent villain. I’m used to seeing her in more comedic roles (ex: Bridesmaids) so when she becomes full on Cheetah, she looks pretty damn badass.

My harshest criticism would probably be the end. The tactic Wonder Woman uses to “defeat” Max Lord is a little corny. Granted Wonder Woman’s whole philosophy is built on the power of truth (hence the “Lasso of Truth”) so it fits the character. Unfortunately human kind is not so willing to embrace truth so its difficult to believe that she can easily convince the world to “renounce their wishes”. I’m also not really sold on the way in which Max Lord “touches” millions of people via a satellite broadcast. I feel like that whole scenario wasn’t entirely thought out.

Initially I wanted to give this movie 3.5 stars but the addon only supports whole numbers. Since I would consider watching this movie again I decided to go ahead and bump it up to 4 stars. I think Patty Jenkins did the best she could with the script she was given. I’m excited to see what she does for the Rogue Squadron movie; hopefully she will have better screenplay writers.

What did you think of Wonder Woman 1984?

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Biggs’ Top 5 Christmas Movies

Top 5 Christmas MoviesIt’s not a secret among my friends and family that Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love everything about Christmas. Therefore it makes sense for December to be the Top 5 Christmas movies. To keep things simple I’m ignoring the controversial Christmas movies: Nightmare Before Christmas and Die Hard.

I do love the Die Hard movies and I enjoy the humor of calling it a Christmas movie but this isn’t the time or place to discuss its merits as such. Nightmare Before Christmas has already made an appearance on a Top 5 list. The following Christmas movies are the ones I watch every year during the Christmas season (some more than once). So without further ado:

  1. White Christmas – an iconic Christmas movie starring the iconic yuletide crooner.
  2. Scrooged – this is an awesome retelling of the classic A Christmas Carol story.
  3. Home Alone – nothing says Christmas like a John Hughes Christmas classic.
  4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – another John Hughes Christmas classic.
  5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) – Hollywood should stop remaking this; they can never do better than Boris Karloff.

Honorable Mentions

It was difficult to pick the top 5, just as it has been for several of the other Top 5 lists during this year. There are so many great Christmas movies from It’s a Wonderful Life to the 5 listed above. Don’t get me wrong, It’s a Wonderful Life is a … wonderful movie (see what I did there) but these are the honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the top five.

A Christmas Story is also a classic but seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie. I have relatives that love this movie and will watch it’s 24-hour marathon on TNT every year on Christmas. I also have relatives that wish they never heard of Jean Shepherd; personally I don’t mind the movie and I’ll typically watch it at least once every year. It helps, I suppose, that I also grew up in northern Indiana.

A Christmas Carol (1951) is my favorite of the traditional version of this movie. There are so many versions of this film that its difficult to find a good one. Granted the muppet version is awesome but I still have to go with this version that stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. If you haven’t seen this version, I would highly recommend you do.

Merry Christmas!

I Have Spoken!

 

HMDYK About David Prowse

We recently received the unfortunate news that David Prowse passed away. For those Star Wars debutants, David Prowse is the man that wore the Darth Vader costume in the original trilogy. In honor of his passing let’s see how much you know about David Prowse. I’ve always had a huge appreciation for him and I’m very sad to hear about his passing. Perhaps this post will give you a greater appreciation too.

David Prowse was a bodybuilderDavid Prowse was born in Bristol, England in 1935 and he was raised by a single mother. He found a passion for bodybuilding and weight training and he eventually won the British heavyweight weightlifting title. He became a “superhero” in the UK as the Green Cross Man, a character created by the British Road Safety Committee. The Green Cross Man is an aid to teach children general road safety. His role as the Green Cross Man ultimately earned him the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

From Superman to Star Wars

About David ProwseSince David was a real life “superhero” he is obviously qualified to train a superhero. His passion for fitness lead to a career in training actors for films, including Christopher Reeve (RIP) for his role as Superman (1978). One day he receives a call from his agent to talk to George Lucas about a role in his upcoming “space opera”. Lucas offered David the option of two roles; Chewbacca or Darth Vader. He chose Vader and is quoted as saying “I took the part of the villain because everyone remembers the villain”. Oh how right he was!

In the original trilogy, Darth Vader is portrayed by three people; James Earl Jones the voice, Sebastian Shaw as the face (in ROTJ) and David as the body.  While he did not provide the voice for Darth Vader, he embraced the role and its impact on the fans. He was always loyal to Star Wars fans making frequent appearances in fan-films and conventions (until he was banned, boo on you George Lucas). He is actually an accomplished writer and often publishes books on health and fitness but he also wrote an autobiography entitled “Straight from the Force’s Mouth“.

David clearly has a penchant for playing the baddies. In addition to Darth Vader he has also portrayed Frankenstein’s monster on, at least, three separate films. He’s also been in A Clockwork Orange and several television appearances, including Doctor Who in 1972.

Tragic Irony

Despite the fact that he was in such excellent shape and spent his life promoting health and fitness, David Prowse had several health problems. He suffered from chronic arthritis that ultimately lead to his retirement from film and public appearances. In 2009 he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, from which he fully recovered. It was thought that he was beginning to suffer dementia (although he attributed the memory loss to old age). [EDIT] His recent passing was simply the result of a short illness (and not covid related, from what I’ve been able to find). It was recently announced that he passed away as a result of complications from COVID-19.

Although we never saw his face as Vader, we appreciate David’s contribution in bringing to life one of cinema’s most iconic and fearsome villians. From the first moment he stepped through that blast door on the Tantive IV, Vader’s looming presence will never be forgotten. Thank you David Prowse and May the Force Be With You.

You don’t know the power of the dark side.

Biggs’ Top 5 Martial Arts Movies

Top 5 Martial Arts MoviesI know November is Thanksgiving month but there really aren’t that many Thanksgiving themed movies (other than A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving). Therefore I’m going in a completely different direction; my top 5 martial arts movies. Apparently “Martial Arts” is not a recognized movie genre. They primarily fall under the “action/adventure” and even “comedy” genres. I find that disappointing. I’m such a fan of martial arts films, perhaps because I used to be in Taekwondo (in another life).

You will find that my favorite actors in martial arts films are Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Although you cannot ignore the godfather of martial arts movies, Bruce Lee. There is also the immortal Chuck Norris (who has SIX different black belts), Steven Seagal, Chow Yun-Fat, and Michelle Yeoh (to name a few more gifted martial artists). But I digress.

Here’s the list:

  • The Legend of Drunken Master – “Monkey drink master’s wine!”, probably my all time favorite martial arts (and Jackie Chan) film
  • Enter the Dragon – the most iconic Bruce Lee and martial arts movie. ever.
  • Shanghai Noon – I love the surrealism of Indians encountering an adept martial artist
  • Kiss of the Dragon – perhaps my favorite Jet Li movie
  • Rush Hour – I love the chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker

Honorable Mentions

I have three honorable mentions this month. It could be argued that Hard Boiled is more of an action movie than martial arts. Chow Yun-Fat is fun and this movie has one of the longest action sequences completed in a single take. Martial arts movies typically do not get a lot of media attention. However, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is actually a fairly renown movie. It’s over-the-top use of mid-air martial arts is really well done and really gives credence to it’s fantasy themes. Finally, Romeo Must Die is another one of my favorite Jet Li films. In fact I almost chose this for the top 5 instead of Kiss of the Dragon. The legend of the “kiss of the dragon” in the film is what won me over (similar to the “five point palm exploding heart technique” in Kill Bill).

On a final note; one question some may ask is: subtitles or dubbed? It depends on the movie. Most of Jackie Chan’s movies I watch dubbed (he voice dubs himself). Movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Brotherhood of the Wolf I watch with subtitles because that is how it was in the theaters.

(See last month’s Top 5)

I Have Spoken!

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