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  1. The Good: I just finished the second of a three book trilogy (5th Wave, Infinite Sea, and yet to be released The Last Star) , by Rick Yancey, about an alien plot to wipe out humanity via various waves of destruction. The books are aimed at young adults, as the protagonists are mostly teens, but as with all war books and movies, heavier themes are ever-present throughout. I found both books to be good reads, recommended. As with most YA sci-fi these days, this has already been picked up by Columbia Pictures to be made into a series of feature films. The Bad: The casting: as with the Major in the upcoming GiTS movie, Ringer, a major female character, of Asian decent with jet black hair, is being played by a white blonde girl. Why, Hollywood? I've seen Asian actresses in other films, so I know they exist...unless they were CG, like the dinosaurs in JP.
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkX7dHjL-aY The Fifth Element Gaumont/Columbia Pictures, 1997 Columbia Tri-Star Home Video, 2005 Directed by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional) Written by Luc Besson (The Transporter trilogy, the Taken trilogy) and Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid, Kiss of the Dragon) Running Time: 126 minutes Rated PG-13 for violence, nudity, suggestive sexual situations and strong language. Cast Bruce Willis (David Addison in Moonlighting, Mikey in Look Who's Talking) as Korben Dallas Milla Jovovich (Katinka in Zoolander, Maya in Kuffs) as Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat. Gary Oldman (Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, Drexl Spivey in True Romance) as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, Mr. Kurtzmann in Brazil) as Priest Vito Cornelius Chris Tucker (Smokey in Friday, Det. James Carter in Rush Hour) as DJ Ruby Rhod Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr. as President Lindberg Brion James (1945-1999) (Leon in Blade Runner, Ben in 48 Hours) as General Munro Maïwenn Le Besco as Diva Plavalaguna Luke Perry (Dylan in Beverly Hills 90210, Oliver in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Billy Masterson Synopsis Heavily inspired by bandes dessinees (that's "comics" in French) artists Jean-Claude Mezieres (Valerian) and Jean "Moebius" Giraud (Blueberry, Metal Hurlant), renowned French director Luc Besson collaborated with the two in 1992 to develop an ambitious sci-fi project tentatively titled Zaltman Bleros. While character and production sketches were being developed, the project was put on hold, pending support from a Hollywood company. But when Besson's 1993 film Léon: The Professional became a worldwide hit, he reunited with Mezieres and Moebius and resumed production of their project, now renamed The Fifth Element. Released in 1997, The Fifth Element tells the tale of Korben Dallas, a New York cab driver in the 23rd century who encounters a mysterious girl named Leeloo. He later on ends up having to protect Leeloo, as she holds the key to the five elements that will protect Earth from all evil, not to mention a corrupt industrialist named Zorg who wants the elements for his own profit. If the five elements are not joined within 48 hours, all life on Earth will cease to exist. Korben Dallas: "Whoa, lady, I only speak two languages: English and bad English." [Leeloo continues to talk in divine language] Korben Dallas: "Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for conversation, but maybe you could just shut up for a minute?" Lowdown Imagine Blade Runner mixed with Star Wars, with a little European style to it. You have The Fifth Element. Yes, the story leaves much to be desired, but The Fifth Element is pure eye candy with breathtaking set designs, dazzling visual effects and Milla Jovovich half-naked in the first half of the film. Bruce Willis, as usual, plays a scrawny, gun-toting S.O.B. Gary Oldman, on the other hand, does a good job playing the neurotic Zorg. (Of course, it pales in comparison to his role as Stansfield in Léon.) And while this film launched Jovovich's career, nothing else she's done afterwards has been worthwhile. But the one who steals the show is Chris Tucker, who plays the gender-challenged DJ Ruby Rhod. In many of his scenes, you'll either laugh or just tell him to shut up. The music by Eric Serra (GoldenEye, Bulletproof Monk) is a mix of orchestra and techno, but the highlight of the soundtrack is the Diva's captivating performance. Definitely worth buying the OST. If you're a sci-fi freak or just a casual movie buff, check out The Fifth Element. Proof that the French can also produce a great sci-fi epic. Police: "Are you classified as human?" Korben Dallas: "Negative, I am a meat popsicle." Rating: A- "Anybody else want to negotiate?" - Korben Dallas DVD Extras: A+ If you have a previous version of The Fifth Element on DVD (regular or Superbit), trade it in, as this two-disc edition is loaded with everything you wanted to know about the movie, and then some: Check-in Attendant: "Mr. Rhod, you are going to have to assume your individual position." DJ Ruby Rhod: "I don't want one position, I want all positions!" Disc 1Film feature available in DTS 6.1 or Dolby Digital 5.1 English. Fact Track. Liner notes that flash during the film. Disc 2 The Visual Element. Interviews with Mezieres and Moebius, plus test shots of the film's set designs. The Digital Element. A look at the film's dazzling visual effects, plus interviews with the staff of Digital Domain. The Star Element. Interviews with Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich and Chris Tucker. The Alien Element. Information on the Mondoshawans, the Mangalores, Zorg's pet Picasso and other races that didn't make it in the final cut. The Fashion Element. A look at the wardrobe of 23rd century Earth, plus screen tests of Korben and Leeloo's outfits. The Diva. An interview with the actress behind the blue makeup and prosthetics, plus test shots and outtakes of her concert performance. Poster Gallery. Pics of theatrical posters from all over the world. Too bad none of these features are available on Blu-ray. Speaking of which, Sony screwed up on the Blu-ray release of this film not once, but twice. The first in 2006 being a really bad video transfer, and while the second release in 2007 featured an improved picture, that's all it had. References The Internet Movie Database
  3. Autómata is an upcoming sci-fi film directed by Gabe Ibáñez, starring Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots, The Mask of Zorro), Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Melanie "now former Mrs. Banderas" Griffith (Edith in Cherry 2000, Tess in Working Girl), Dylan McDermott (Bobby in The Practice, Sgt. Frantz in Hamburger Hill), Robert Forster (Max Cherry in Jackie Brown, Scott in The Descendants), and Tim McInnnerny (Lord Percy Percy and Captain Darling in Blackadder). It does have an I, Robot vibe mixed with a little bit of Elysium. The film hits theaters on October 10. Official Site
  4. Yup, Hollywood has ran out of ideas. Here's Earth to Echo, which appears to be a loose remake of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Super 8 - with some cheap CG effects.
  5. Or is it Vivid Red? Heh, "dred" with "vivi". Anyway, just because it causes a bunch of hub-ub and I didn't want to feel left out I decided to go against my better judgment and see what is being called "Strike Witches light" as it comes out on Morkyroll. Personally? On one hand it is magic girl junk *shrivels*, the butt shots and transformation scenes are annoying (I'd say worse but they're in middle school), for such a heavy sci-fi atmosphere some things just don't add up, the music varies from okay to awful, and first time I'm saying this anywhere but everyone looks too shiny and blushy, it is irritating. On the other hand the setting visuals and style are very well crafted and colorfully pleasing and there are MONSTERS OF THE WEEK! So few of those exist in anime anymore and it really is something nice to see that in something that airs! And they have a marine animal and robotic motif to them! The characters aren't too annoying, kind of bland but nothing too bad, although who knows if that'll change. So anyone else watching?
  6. http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/looper/ Bruce Willis traveling in time again, and it looks very promising.
  7. 2009 Lost Memories ( 2009 로스트메모리즈 / ロスト・メモリーズ) indecom/E-Tube Entertainment/CJ Entertainment, 2002 ADV Films, 2004 Directed by Lee Si-Myung Running Time: 135 minutes Rated R for graphic violence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df3BDkqtxzQ Cast Jang Dong-Gun as Masayuki Sakamoto Toru Nakamura as Shojiro Saigo Seo Jin-Ho as Oh Hye-Rin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPl940-9QH8 Synopsis In an alternate year 1909, the assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito by Korean nationalist An Jung-geun is thwarted. As a result, Japan's political stance worldwide changes dramatically. Over the course of the century, Japan allies with the U.S. in World War II, with the atomic bomb destroying Berlin instead of Hiroshima. In addition, Japan also becomes a permanent member of the UN Security Council in 1960, participates in the space race with the Sakura I satellite in 1965, hosts the 1988 Summer Olympics in Nagoya (instead of Seoul) and the 2002 FIFA World Cup (instead of splitting it with South Korea). More importantly, the peninsula of Korea remains part of Imperial Japan. Fast-forward to the year 2009 in the city of Keijo (Seoul). Japanese Bureau of Investigation (JBI) agent Masayuki Sakamoto and his partner Shojiro Saigo end a hostage crisis at a museum instigated by a terrorist group called Hureisenjin. Sakamoto continues to investigate the incident in search of the Hureisenjin's motives, which involves an organization created by former Governor-General Inoue. As he digs deeper for answers, he discovers that his late father was involved with the Hureisenjin, but his further findings make him a marked man by the JBI. Allying himself with the Hureisnjin, Sakamoto realizes that the current timeline should not exist, as history had been tampered with, and he must go back in time to restore history to bring Korean sovereignty back to existence. Lowdown 2009 Lost Memories is South Korea's answer to the film noir genre, with a hardly noticeable sci-fi element on the side. It also gives viewers an idea of how much the Japanese and Koreans hate each other. And that's the problem with this film. Sure, the cinematography is great and the shootouts are well-choreographed, but there are too many interludes that vaguely develop any of the characters, and there's the constant clashing of Japanese and Korean cultures. Plus, making this a time-travel film somehow doesn't seem to work. At least Mamoru Oshii's Kerberos saga is merely an alternate universe. And the running time - 135 minutes? The production team could have accomplished a better story at a shorter time. But perhaps my biggest gripe with this film is the same as Battle Royale II: Requiem: it promotes terrorism. It makes viewers believe that terrorism is the only solution to a country's problems. In short, 2009 Lost Memories is not a bad film. It's just too long with numerous plot holes and too much focus on anti-Japanese/anti-Korean sentiment. A rental at most. Rating: C+ Sub vs. Dub Don't know, don't care. I didn't realize ADV Films licensed this film several years ago until recently. Moreover, according to IMDb, the English dub was produced by none other than Carl Macek. References The Internet Movie Database
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inGUZEDJllY Titan A.E. FOX Animation Studios/20th Century Fox, 2000 Directed by Don Bluth (An American Tail, Anastasia) and Gary Goldman (The Pebble and the Penguin, Anastasia) Written by Hans Bauer (Anaconda) and Randall McCormick (Speed 2: Cruise Control) Screenplay by Ben Edlund (The Tick), John August (Big Fish, Corpse Bride) and Joss Whedon (like nobody here knows who he is...) Running Time: 94 minutes Rated PG for sci-fi violence and mild language. Cast Matt Damon (The Bourne Trilogy, Good Will Hunting) as Cale Tucker Drew Barrymore (Gertie in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Julia in The Wedding Singer) as Akima Kunimoto Bill Pullman (President Whitmore in Independence Day, Lone Starr in Spaceballs) as Capt. Joseph Korso John Leguizamo (Luigi in Super Mario Bros., Violator in Spawn) as Gune Nathan Lane (Timon in The Lion King, Albert in The Birdcage) as Preed Janeane Garofalo (The Bowler in Mystery Men, Colette in Ratatouille) as Stith Tone Loc (remember that rap song "Wild Thing"?) as Tek Ron Perlman (like nobody here knows who he is...) as Prof. Sam Tucker Synopsis In the year 3028, an alien race called the Drej invade the Solar System and destroy Earth. While they accomplish in wiping out 99% of Earth's population, they fail to eliminate the top-secret project ship Titan created by Prof. Sam Tucker, who escaped in the midst of the chaos. Fifteen years later, the surviving humans continue to live their lives as intergalactic refugees. Tucker's son Cale, who works at a salvage yard, is paid a visit by Capt. Joseph Korso and female pilot Akima. They seek help from Cale, as he holds the key to finally locate the Titan - mankind's last hope for survival. Together, they must get to the Titan before the Drej discover it and annihilate mankind for good. Story: D+ Back in 1999, while moviegoers flocked to movie theaters to see The Matrix, they caught their first glimpse of this animated sci-fi flick. It showed Earth blown to bits, which, more or less, caught a lot of attention. One year later, Titan A.E. was released. Unfortunately, Earth blowing up was practically the only exciting part of the movie. This movie had a lot of potential, but its lack of originality was its Achilles heel. Sure, hundreds of sci-fi flicks bite off from Star Wars and Star Trek, but Titan A.E. just bites off too much from them. Most noticeable is the Titan ship subplot, which is a rehash of the Genesis Project from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I'd point out some Star Wars references, but there are just too many to name. Besides, I fell asleep throughout most of the film. Even anime references are not spared from this film's lack of originality. Cale's hand map is a loose derivative of Lensman. The Valkyrie flight scene across the asteroid belt may have been a take on Macross. The characters are just not likeable at all; maybe if the Drej got rid of them, we'd probably have a better movie than the final product. And we all know that Matt Damon and Drew Barrymore can't act, but damn - their voice acting's even worse. But then again, if you read the credits, it's no wonder the story sucks. People who wrote Anaconda and Speed 2: Cruise Control were behind this tripe. Even the screenplay writers (read credits above), as talented as they are, couldn't save this train wreck of a story. Instead of making headlines, Titan A.E. was simply career suicide for Don Bluth and a number of animators. It was also an early sign of the death of American theatrical animation as we know it. Titan A.E. made only $36 million out of its $75 million budget, prompting FOX to close their animation studios. Its bad luck must have also rubbed on other animated sci-fi titles like Sony's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire (don't get me started with the Nadia ripoff debacle) and Treasure Planet - all of which tanked in the box office as well. Animation: B- Can someone please tell Don Bluth that Rotoscope animation is dead? Titan A.E.'s character designs are just as exciting as watching paint dry on a rainy day. The 3D animation is okay, but with a budget of $75 million, it should be much better. Soundtrack: C There's a reason why Star Wars and Star Trek use classical music for their soundtracks: it never goes out of style. Titan A.E. just feels so '90s with its use of alternative music from Lit, Powerman 5000 and other bands no one's even heard of. Graeme Revell (The Crow, Sin City) supplies some BGM, but it's hardly noticeable. DVD Extras: B At least the DVD is loaded with extras, such as deleted/unfinished scenes and a making-of documentary. And there's a music video of "Over My Head" by Lit, like anyone cares. The Bottom Line "Planet Bob?" Skip this movie and go rent something else. Reference The Internet Movie Database Wikipedia
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