Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Mad Max: Fury Road

May 15, 2015

Great action movie and a nice re-imagining of the Mad Max franchise.  It’s not exactly a re-boot, but not exactly a direct sequel either.  Pretty much a non-stop car chase, with plenty of post-apocalyptic weirdness you can steal for your PA RPGs.  Go see it, whether you’re a fan of Mad Max or just a fan of good action movies.

Big Ass Spider!

October 10, 2014

bigasspsiderAt first glance Big Ass Spider! is just another cheesy Syfy Channel monster movie exclusive, and it certainly looks it.  However, it’s probably more accurate to say BAS! is really more of a spoof of Syfy Channel monster movie exclusives.

As you can guess from the title, the movie is about a giant mutant spider that grows to epic proportions, and the efforts of a professional exterminator to kill it (with the help of the U.S. military 😉 ).  The film quality is roughly equivalent to a Syfy Channel movie, maybe a touch better.  You’ll recognize a couple of character actors in it, but not really any famous stars.

BAS! is a horror comedy, so it has equal parts humor and creepy spider-attacks.  For a comedy it has a fair amount of gore and scary scenes, so probably not a good movie for the kids to watch.  The story holds together fairly well, and the dialogue is decent, but not great.  The best lines come from the interactions between the pest exterminator hero Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg) and his Mexican-American security guard partner, Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar).

It’s a fun little movie, though if you go into it expecting a serious horror movie, or a major Hollywood production, you will be severely disappointed.  If you don’t like spiders, you should probably skip this one.  And as a source of inspiration for RPGs, I’m contemplating a “spider-pocalypse” (or maybe “bug-pocalypse”) setting, something a little different from the usual zombies, cannibals and mutants.

BAS! is available on Netflix, if you’re interested.  Cheers.

The Equalizer

October 1, 2014

theequalizerHad a chance to see The Equalizer today.  I remember watching the TV show back when, though I don’t recall a lot of details about it now, so I can’t say how well the movie follows the pattern of the series.

What I can say is that Denzel Washington is awesome, and the movie is both violent and bloody.  Much more bloody than I expected.  That doesn’t bother me much, but if you don’t really like blood and gore, you may not like The Equalizer.

The movie is a tad too long; they probably could have shaved a few minutes off the beginning of the movie and it wouldn’t have hurt the story one bit.  Also, when Denzel’s Robert McCall is dispatching Russian mobsters, he does so with a dispassion bordering on the psychopathic, which is a little off-setting for someone who’s supposed to be equalizing the odds for the little guy.  Chloe Grace Moretz has an underwhelming role of a Russian prostitute-victim whom McCall decides to help, and who basically disappears during the heart of the story.

Still, it’s an enjoyable, if bloody, action film that starts a little slow but soon gains momentum.  If you’re a fan of Denzel Washington or violent action movies, it’s easily worth the price of a matinee ticket.


The Colony

September 25, 2014

Sthecolonynowmeggedon type post-apocalypse movies seem to be on the rise lately.  An interesting addition is The Colony (Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton; nothing to do with the TV series).  The Earth has frozen over due to misguided attempts to regulate the planet’s rising temperatures.  The few remaining humans survive in subterranean ‘colonies’ where they can grow hydroponic food, though disease is a constant worry for them.  A nearby colony has fallen off the airwaves, so Colony 7 sends a team to find out what happened.  As you can guess, it ain’t pretty.

The Colony features the claustrophobic isolation common in horror movies like Alien or The Thing, but ultimately the movie is about what makes us human.  To be sure, there is a good amount of blood and intense violence, so probably not one for the kids.  Also, Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton are the two big names in the movie, but they aren’t really the leads.  The rest of the cast does a decent acting job, the story is predictable but tight, and the special effects aren’t quite big-budget, but considerably better than your typical Syfy channel special.

If you’re in the mood for a decent post-apocalypse movie it’s worth watching on Netflix (instant view) or similar service.  The Colony could also make an interesting setting for a short post-apoc RPG campaign or one-off game; instead of a desert wasteland (ala Road Warrior), you’ve got a frozen wasteland with a whole new set of challenges for the PCs to face.


Guardians of the Galaxy

August 4, 2014


What are you reading this for?  Go see Guardians of the Galaxy…right now!

Yes, it’s that good.



July 31, 2014

herculesSo, saw the Hercules movie today.  I went in expecting an enjoyable, if not great, action film.  What I got was actually better than I thought.

On one level Hercules clocks in as a fairly predictable, formulaic Hollywood action film.  However, I really liked the film’s take on the “legend” of Hercules, and in my view this helps the movie step up a bit.  The film is essentially about how heroes are made and legends are born.

It struck me that, in some respects, this movie’s version of Hercules is very much like a typical D&D adventurer:  down-and-out murder-hobo who one day becomes a great hero by dint of luck and skill (and some good PR).  I don’t want to say too much more than that because it might ruin some of the fun for you.

In my opinion Hercules is at least worth the price of a matinee ticket, but if you have your doubts then be sure to catch it on Netflix, Redbox or your discount movie source of choice.

Now I feel like trying some Mazes & Minotaurs.  Cheers.

Mad Max: Fury Road

July 28, 2014

Needles at the Swords & Stitchery Blog brought this to my attention:  the first trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road.

1) It’s nice to see the last of the V-8 Interceptors again, even if only for a few minutes.

2) It’s weird not seeing Mel Gibson as Mad Max.

3) There’s some criticism that it looks “Michael Bay-ish,” and it sort of does.  None-the-less, I’m excited about the new Mad Max movie.  I’m looking forward to this one.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11, 2014

dawnoftheplanetoftheapesSaw this today and enjoyed it much more than the prequel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  It’s a tale of how fear, mistrust, hatred and, above all, stupidity lead to misunderstanding and inevitable conflict.

The story gets moving pretty quick, so you don’t feel like you’re waiting for a couple of hours for the movie to get to the interesting part (unlike Rise).  Decent story, decent acting, the story makes sense (for the most part) and a nice big battle towards the end.  They also set it up nicely for the sequel, which I’m guessing will be Battle for the Planet of the Apes (you’ll see what I mean if you go see it).

I was close to chucking this one into the Netflix queue but I’m glad I went to see it.  At the very least it’s worth the price of a matinee ticket.  Cheers.

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction

June 27, 2014

transformers4Pretty much like the first three movies, only with Mark Wahlberg, Dinobots and a bit of Chinese government propaganda.  Lots of shooting and explosions, frenetic action, rapid-fire dialogue (difficult to understand most of the time) and a plot that barely rationalizes all the action and violence.

If you liked the first three Transformers movies, you’ll like this one, too.  If you hated them, stay far, far away from Age of Extinction.   Cheers.

Edge of Tomorrow

June 11, 2014

edgeoftomorrowSaw Edge of Tomorrow a few days ago.  Overall, it’s a decent action flick.  It’s not very deep, it won’t make you think much and, like most time-travel(ish) movies, doesn’t always make a lot of sense.  But it has plenty of explosions and shooting (if that’s your thing) and a touch of humor here and there (think Groundhog Day, with guns and aliens).

Tom Cruise is, well, Tom Cruise; he doesn’t really change much movie to movie.  I thought Emily Blunt did a fine job, though she is perhaps a bit underused here.

If you’re itching for an action movie, Edge of Tomorrow is worth the price of a matinee ticket (or just wait and Netflix it in a few months).  However, if you can’t stand Tom Cruise, or you’re looking for some deep, introspective movie, you’re better off skipping this one.


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