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Apocalypto

Apocalypto

I once wrote that one can’t be a critic and a filmmaker at the same time because the former is reactive while the latter is proactive. Yet, here I am contradicting myself, at least in a sense. While Apocalypto is already known, I desire to produce such short analyses simply out of respect. In his case it is because I believe that Mel Gibson, while already respected as a filmmaker, is actually still underrated. He is on the threshold of deserving the same reverence in film, both as art and entertainment, as Spielberg and Scorsese as great living directors. The masterpiece that is Apocalypto reminds us of his vision and reach.

Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson, produced by his Icon Productions along with Touchstone Pictures and released in 2006, is a film about revelation and revolution. The film follows a young tribesman named Jaguar Paw (Youngblood) as his idyllic life is uprooted by raiders who enslave his people and prepare him and others for sacrifice to Mayan deity Kukulkan. Jaguar Paw’s goal is to survive and make his way back to his expectant wife and their child who are trapped in a pit. Stripped of his tribe and with no home, he transforms from hunted to hunter as he claims his identity in life.

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Traitor of Mars

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars

Some old friends are back in this animated, kick-ass film about legendary Space Marines, err I mean the Mobile Infantry (MI). If you aren’t familiar with the characters, they are loosely based on the classic bildungsroman about a group of high school kids thrust into a war for survival of their species. An invading swarm of giant, spider-like bugs mercilessly slaughters anything in their path. Traitor of Mars is the latest film to feature many of the original characters from the 1997 film Starship Troopers, also written by Edward Neumeier. Because Traitor of Mars is an animated film, there is no limit to the amount of effects. And we finally get to see the power suits that Heinlein introduced to our world back in 1959, which arguably launched the mecha armor craze that is still strong today.

Overall it was just a fun film that I will definitely be adding to my Blu-ray collection. The addition of the much missed power suits alone makes it a must watch for fans of Heinlein’s work. And I had to scour the NET to find the old Microprose PC game from 2000 that I used to play that I swear heavily influenced certain elements of the film. Many times while watching the movie, I kept having flashbacks of playing it and wondering how long the Lost Patrol would last under my command. [Incidentally, there was a 2005 Starship Troopers PC game that apparently stunk.] 

If you are a fan of Neumeier’s other writing, I think this one holds up to his style, and I really loved the end credits metal adaption of Basil Poledouris’ original score from 1997. It made me want to suit up and jump – because, after all nobody lives forever!

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Hitmans Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

A ‘demoted’ top protection agent (Reynolds) is manipulated by his ex-girlfriend into guarding the life of his mortal enemy (Jackson), the world’s most notorious hit man. The two men are thrown together for a time-sensitive, explosively dangerous journey from London to The Hague. Chasing them with orders to kill is a relentless army of assassins put on their trail by a European dictator (Oldman) who is on trial for “crimes against humanity.” Will they make the court’s imposed five PM deadline for Jackson to testify, or will the dictator walk free? Will they thrash the assassins? Will they even survive each other? You’ll have to watch, laugh, and see.

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The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

The Josh Chop: It’s never fair to compare a book to a film. Even to compare a screenplay to its final film would be to compare colors of paint in a tube to a final Michelangelo piece. It’s hard to say how this film compares to the novels because, I never read them. When going into this one, I kept an open mind that this film would be unlike other Stephen King novels made for the big screen. Stephen King is of course well known to write fiction that deals with the macabre and horrors only his mind can make up. While The Dark Tower gives us a reason to have nightmares at night, horror is not an overall theme of the film.

I really did enjoy it and would most likely watch it again to see if I could catch things I missed the first time around. My only wish with future Dark Tower films is that the Gunslinger show more emotion and that events be slowed down a bit. They really did fit a TON inside the hour and a half run time. Either way, I definitely think people should see The Dark Tower as it was a pretty decent story overall.

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Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron is amazing, not only for her unquestionable beauty, or her unquestionable abilities as an actress, but also for her choice of material and her willingness and confidence to let it all hangout on the screen.

Now on the heels of her scene-stealing action performance in Mad Max: Fury Road, comes Atomic Blonde to firmly plant her feet in the legacy of a true action hero. With the ferocity of a jungle cat, Theron jumps into dozens of dazzling fight sequences so staggering in their execution that you forget she’s wearing designer clothes with spiked heels; and that brothers and sisters is something else again.

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