Archive for June, 2013

Movie Review World War Z

World War Z: The last war of the last letter.

Movie Review World War Z

28 Days, no weeks after Resident Evil

World War Z poster

Pile on for a game of Kill The Man With The Brains

You know what you are in for- from the trailer alone. It’s the zombie apocalypse realized in a big summer blockbuster format with some Brad Pitt star-power and the CGI goods to back it up. The undead give us a couple of options when it comes to the origin and rules of the flesh-eating antagonists. Should they be shambling and mumbling brains or ultra strong and nimble? 28 Days Later (2002) and its sequel 28 Weeks Later (2007) gave us a new, fast moving ravenous zombie horde and World War Z multiplies the body count by a few thousand. Honesty, this movie could be viewed as the final chapter of a 28 trilogy.
Cemetery Plots

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a United Nations operative re-enlisted to help fight a viral infection that threatens the entire world. His character lands nicely between reluctant semi-civilian and skillful hero. That allows us to skip past the act-stupid-in-disbelief trope and avoid the last-worthy-guy cliché…for the most part. His only pause for getting involved- stems from his reluctance to leave his family. Which is interesting since the ENTIRE PLANET is in jeopardy and a huge asset like Pitt puts his own concerns ahead of a global crisis. At least that builds his character and gives some reasoning for his dogged determination and will to continue against incredible odds.

Bite Me

Marc Forester directs a fast-paced movie based on the novel by Max Brooks. There are a few departures so the original story remains fresh enough to read for total zombie-Z-immersion. And we do find ourselves face to face with the terror rather quickly. There is also a nice balance between the up-close-and-personal confrontations and the large scale battles. The movie remains tight and tense, whether it’s one thousand scaling a wall or just one breaking down a door. The set pieces are varied and it keeps the action fresh. There’s zombies in the land sea and air.

The movie only suffers from a few minor cuts, but I can’t say all of them are avoidable. As awesome as the varied locales are, there is a familiarity with some of the action sequences. A battle in the narrow corridors of an apartment complex and zombies racing up the stairs after our party? I’m not sure there is an original way to showcase these kinds of events, but unfortunately your mind will recall familiar scenes from movies like Resident Evil and I Am Legend. I say it’s a small concern because logically- this where the pivotal events would naturally occur.

What’s Plan C?

In the tradition of the best horror movies, our characters hatch out a dangerous plan that is seen as the only chance for survival. I love these blocks and it always elevates the characters above the I’m-so-stupid-you-hope-I-die and forces them to do what we wouldn’t and couldn’t. That display of courage is always a small testament of why we, as humans, should survive. Oh yes, we get several of those scenarios and we are happily able to escape the cheap jumps like the cat jumping out of the cupboard. This movie earns all of its scares and uses timing and location to add jolt. World War Z proves you don’t need a surprise to be surprised. I’m not a movie critic; I’m just critiquing a movie.

More movie reviews:

Domino Grey interview with YoungCelebrityNews

Young Celebrity Newsblog interview with DOMINO GREY

Domino Grey

Domino Grey, never fencing with words

Can you tell us about growing up listening to music? Did that have a big effect on you in who you are today as a musician?

I think so. I believe a huge part of happiness is doing what we loved to do as a child, in an adult world, which means either as a career or as an intense hobby. Our grown up eyes only see responsibilities and what we think we ‘should do’. A child’s vision is much more honest as it focuses only on ‘wants to do’. Therefore, the limitations of what you ‘can and can’t do’ are what fuel your dreams. My music is a reflection of those aspirations.

And that’s what inspired you to start producing music? 

Yes! My parent’s record collection told the story of their history. It told me who they were. It represented their tastes and sensibilities. It was a wide array of music. Calypso, Dance, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Classical, Country & Western…plus I watched so much sci-fi and anime. I would stare at these albums and create the story of me as that artist. You’d see an album cover of the producer in the studio, a picture of the artist lost in thought or just a pretty woman sitting there. I wanted to be in that world and I hope the music I make tells a story.

Who are some of your musical influences today?

I’m more drawn to sounds than artists, to be honest. I like to paint with a large palette of sounds…from synthesizers to traditional instruments to using samples in my work. We are doing so much to break down the barriers between composing, producing and performing. So much of our music happens on the production side and so much of our tendencies are influenced by the live performance aspects. The modern record sounds as if it is already being manipulated by a DJ and so much of its sound is affected and not recorded. It’s a producer’s craft now.

Tell us what exactly being a producer means and does?

Traditionally, it’s about bringing the record to term. It’s about the session and bringing the best out of the artist.  It’s about the details and…

Movie review Man of Steel (2013)

June 15, 2013 2 comments

Movie review Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel is a great story about a super man

Man of Steel movie poster

Steel strength and super man

Superman was in danger of falling into a bad stretch like the Batman franchise was in before Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale settled in. Do we get a great actor and a terrible story? Or do we get a great narrative with the wrong voice behind it? What if you get both parts right, but fail on the reboot’s twist? What’s that twist? It’s the extra element a director or screenwriter adds in or on to make the story, lore and legend their own. You know, it’s Spiderman having organic web secretions instead of a homemade gadget. It’s Robin being a police officer before becoming Batman’s youthful ward, it’s Loki being the frost- oh you get the idea.

In Superman Returns (2006) we had the great casting of Brandon Routh saddled with the weirdness of Superman having a babies momma. We had the untruth of Cyclops [is he gonna lose his girl in every damn movie?] raising a kid that’s not his and that’s simply not Truth, Justice and the American Way. Well it might be the current American way, but we didn’t need to see our hero behave like us.

Superman is an icon of values. And therein lies the spirit of Man of Steel. He is sent to earth to serve as an example of what we could aspire to be. And it’s not just his strength or abilities that we are drawn to, it’s his humble demeanor that covers his god-like powers. As an overall symbol, he is the largeness beyond us that still cares about the smallness within us.

Superman Poster Man of Steel

This is a Symbol of Hope

The S on his chest

Henry Cavill plays a true immortal and brings Superman to life as a heroic and physical specimen. We have Russell Crowe doing a great job as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as the father kent and a few other notables handing in solid performances. I was hoping for more of a Margot Kidder-styled love interest, but Amy Adams does a serviceable job as Lois lane. But I must say this is one of those movies where the trailer fails as a prelude and promise of what’s to come.

Early on we were given a trailer showing the child Clark playing along the laundry line and the Man of Steel streaking upward into the heavens. Cool, but that doesn’t tell us if the movie is any good. From watching the movie (almost) twice, I can only wonder why you wouldn’t reveal more- much more. There are so many epic moments, fights, battles, scrapes and scraps, there was no reason to tease.

What we do get is a reboot and retelling of Superman II (1980) where Kryptonian General Zod and his soldiers attempt to take over the earth. It’s a bit of a jump in the Superman story, but that does leave room for Lex Luthor to arrive in a sequel. Michael Shannon does a wonderful job embodying Zod and plays him as the perfect balance between misguided and maniacal. This is in step with Kent who is a timid titan trapped between two worlds: The Krypton that no longer exists and our earth, which he is alien to. And ALIEN is the angle of this move. We are given a true sense as to what the Kryton world represented. It feels like a true origin far point and hints to a much larger universe. We see true alien technology and Superman is reduced to a misplaced child from the stars. And that loneliness and quest for self-identity fuels Clark’s youthful wanderings. The question is asked, is the world ready for Superman? The better question is- is the Man of Steel ready for the world?

Action Comics

The fight choreography is some of the best and most imaginative I’ve ever seen. It’s the attention to detail that really catches the eye as the small gestures, centered on Superman’s abilities, showcase his godlike-nature. It is a true clash of titans and the action resembles the imagination of a child playing with action figures. Well done. It says the soundtrack credit goes to Hans Zimmer. You will recognize the two ominous tones from John Woo’s The Killer or A Better Tomorrow. I’ll have to do more research into how those compositions are related.

In summary Superman is a solid entry into the super hero flow and stands tall among all Superman renditions. Writers, David S Goyer and Christopher Nolan [also directing] have taken a few liberties and tinkered (and removed) some of the common plot devices from the TV serials. I accept these changes and am curious to see how they figure to play out in future movies. We also have good pacing as it’s not another slow start like endure the origin part, while we wait for the coming out party. Meaningful flashbacks serve to add weight to many of the key moments and overall the movie feels like the perfect length. Sometimes it seems like Batman doesn’t know when to end.

We’ve seen Lois and Clark, Smallville and now Man of Steel. When you create a movie this grand that does such justice to its franchise, it should have really been titled Superman: Man of Steel. Up, up and away.

Movie Review IRON MAN 3

Movie Review IRON MAN 3


There’s more Man than Iron in this 3rd story

Iron man 3 Movie poster

More man than metal and mayhem

Where do we go from here? – is an important question to ask since Iron Man 3 follows his biggest adventure, courtesy of The Avengers (2012) movie. It seems Stark is also left shaken after clashing with space aliens, becoming part of a team and discovering the true weight of being a hero. We find a somewhat domesticated Stark going up against an Osama bin Laden-styled terrorist threat. With my review coming- just as Iron Man 3 leaves theaters, I’m not so much giving away spoilers as discussing the overall story in detail. For a quick summary; Iron Man 3 plays out as expected with suits, science, chrome and courage all on display. There’s acerbic attitude and action aplenty. It’s a tie with 2, but (obviously) not as grand an experience as the first Iron Man.


Screenplay writer Drew Pearce [Mission Impossible 5] and director/writer Shane Black [Lethal Weapon 2 and The Last Boy Scout] team up inject more Tony and less tin in this 3rd spin. Looking at their previous work, it makes sense that we have more of an action-spy thriller than a straight Marvel comic splashed on the screen. I can follow this leaning because it’s the same issue Spiderman and any other superhero that has a full mask (or is rendered with a lot of CGI) has to deal with. When is the actor supposed to act? And so Robert Downey Jr. spends a huge amount of screen time outside the suit and that happens a lot even during fight sequences. The man behind the metal (I can do this all night) is much more resilient than the suit as the Iron Man armor is used as a disposable shell. Yes, he goes through them (when they are working properly or completely) like, like nothing. They are meaningless tools and no longer the shining symbol of his intellect or his father’s legacy. This theme is also repeated for relationships as Stark reconnects with an old [light] interest and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) is tempted by a previous acquaintance. The foil here is Guy Pearce playing the geeky Aldrich Killian who’s had a massive makeover. Tony treats everyone and everything as near disposable trinkets and it’s caused him to drift from both Pepper and the realities of the new world he lives in. Can he pull it back together in time- to team up with the Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) and save the good ole US of A?


It makes for an interesting bed to explore, except the writing only deals with all of these devices on a surface level. We don’t see the wedge develop between Tony and Pepper. We don’t get a real sense of confusion or a hint of infidelity when Pepper is momentarily fazed by the return of Killian. We aren’t given details about how the world has changed since the alien invasion. We don’t get an explanation as to where The Avengers are and why none of them came to the aid of Iron Man. Especially weird since the news carried the destruction of his mansion and a story that his body was missing. No, not one phone call? I guess Samuel Jackson was too busy making Gazpacho with SIRI.


This movie really is a one-man show. Tony becomes James Bronze and plays the field agent and even the soundtrack follows. You will swear that this is Quantum Of Solace in many moments. We have our charismatic hero trying to turn the bad guy’s girl, save the world and defeat a megalomaniac nemesis [well crafted by Ben Kingsley]. I can accept Iron Man 3 as an acceptable addition to the series, but I’m hoping for more metal and emotion in the next movie. I’m not a movie critic; I’m just critiquing a movie.