Archive for July, 2014

Movie Review: Lucy (2014)

July 28, 2014 1 comment

Movie Review: Lucy (2014)

Lucy Poster

Luc’s Lucy is a lucid Limitless that’s a little limited

A Limitless Matrix where Yakuza are the Agents (Smiths)


Director/Writer Luc Besson (Leon The Professional, The Fifth Element) retells a Matrix coming-of-powerful tale with a female lead (Scarlett Johansson) and more international flavor. We lose the Kung-fu (none here), but keep the prophetic black man as Morgan Freeman steps in as a professor Morpheus/Norman. If you think about it, this story could have been the Trinity awakening story that occurred before NEO took that pill.


The trailer shows us a woman forced to carry an experimental drug in her stomach that is slowly leaking into her bloodstream. The dosage unlocks the greater potential of the human brain and she begins to acquire extraordinary powers. Well yeah, it’s like where Neo asks about dodging bullets and Morpheus says ‘…You won’t have to’. So we wait for the big moment that The Black Widow becomes a better Avenger and does more than shoot guns. Unfortunately, the big pay off isn’t as big as it should be. Neo flew away from that phone booth at the end of the Matrix and we kinda scratched our heads. Lucy unlocks our ultimate potential and doesn’t do a whole lot.

Lucy movie image

Yeah, more Matrix talk. See, the Agents were built up over the entire movie as being total bad-ass so when Neo is able to stand up to them, it was a thrilling turning of the tables. The generic Yakuza in Lucy are killers, for sure, but never really more than gangsters with guns. If you ignore the fact that twenty-five plus Japanese men in dark suits and glasses, running around Europe, are basically invisible to all authority, then yes Lucy is in plenty of danger. Are you scared for her? No, not really. You pretty much think she’s fine ten minutes into the movie and that spoils the final confrontation(s).


Now I don’t mean to sound totally down on Luc’s Lucy. There are some brilliant cut scenes and references to nature and origins and cave- . Suffice to say, it’s a fun ride with a few familiar set ups, scenes and scenarios. Scarlett is fierce and sexy and is the perfect seasoning to keep this movie fresh past the expiration date. If you don’t expect too much more than the trailer, you’ll enjoy Lucy. I’m not a movie critic, I’m just critiquing a movie.


Want more Johansson? See my review for Under the Skin.


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Movie Review: Under the Skin (2013)

Movie Review: Under the Skin (2013)

Under the Skin movie poster

Once you get under, what do you do with it?

The alien serial killer you root against and then for and then against and then…


Under the Skin is a tough one. How do you review it? Most reviewers are either confirming the big reveal ending or basically telling you everything that happens in the movie. Maybe we should stick to what you should be looking for going in, what you actually get and what you feel coming out.


Writers Walter Campbell and novelist Michel Faber (whose book Under the Skin is based on) give us an abstract piece that leaves us groping for meaning and understanding. We become foreigners (aliens?) watching events play out and hope that at some point we figure out the Why. Through repeated scenes we get the motif of a femme fatale luring men to their doom. Every time we see this scenario happen, we are given more details to work from and more pieces to assemble the puzzle’s point. Director Jonathan Glazer shows us some incredible moments where humanity is in mortal peril. There are tight special effects and many scenes without special effects that will make you wonder how he filmed them. The atmosphere locks into place, supported by an eerie soundtrack and a stoic performance from Johansson. She plays it fake and real and there’s claims that cameras were hidden throughout the movie and all her pick-up scenes were non-actors actually being seduced by Scarlett.


Going in? Strange movie, you can’t be too sure what to expect. Inside; an interesting bit of movie-art. And fortunately there is a proper ending that allows us to rethink what we’ve just scene and put all of the puzzle parts in place. Under the Skin is a solid entry and departure. I believe the more cerebral sci-fi fans among us should enjoy it.


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Punk Reviews – reviews Fallout Shelter Elevator Music Volume III Going Down

July 26, 2014 2 comments

Punk Reviews on Fallout Shelter

Instrumental beats beats em in the head. Punk Reviews reviews the new.


Fallout Shelter Going Down album cover

Going Down is getting up

“…by the end of the second listen I had begun memorizing lines and was swaying to the beats. Every track has a surprise at every corner, each song brings something new to the table rhythmically. There is also very good things to say about the actual production of the album as well.”

Artist: Fallout Shelter
Album: Elevator Music Volume III Going Down
Reviewed By: Joe Wallace

It isn’t too often that we’re requested to review an instrumental Hip-Hop album, but it is something I enjoy. Getting the chance to listen to something new and different to change the daily routine is always nice.

Prior to listening to this album for review I had never listened to Fallout Shelter, so at first listen I was very critical, however by the end of the second listen I had begun memorizing lines and was swaying to the beats. Every track has a surprise at every corner, each song brings something new to the table rhythmically. There is also very good things to say about the actual production of the album as well. It’s not my favorite genre to listen to, however it was a very well put-together album and I’d suggest it to any of my friends who listen to hip-hop.




You can hear the music here:,u~10077671,p1~MP3/xe/show.html





Movie Review Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

July 9, 2014 1 comment

Movie Review Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Some old and new tricks, grab your Crucifix!

Inspired by the actual accounts of ….other movies in this genre.


Deliver Us From Evil movie poster

I like what they did with the title.

I shy away from reviewing horror movies, because, well, I don’t like them. While almost every movie genre has suffered the inevitable slide toward the most common denominator and whatever base interest puts butts in seats, horror seems to have taken the most serious hit. Even if something clever comes down the pipe, it is immediately followed by a million clones and bad, bad sequels. I saw Insidious I and II and thought it was pretty clever to create two movies that intertwine to tell one complete story. I thought the first was novel and the new Friday the 13th reboot was interesting.


Demonic possessions, exorcisms and anything spiritual in nature tend to sit with me longer since it plays to or better yet, prays to our primitive and instinctual fear of the supernatural. The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby gave my nightmares and it’s no accident those are classics. But now we live in an age where cell phones and social media are the new tools of the devil. We live in an era where the cat jumping out of the cupboard is the point. You wait for something shocking to happen and no longer feel dread. You don’t fear the situation, you wait for the next loud sound or surprise pop up.


Scott Derrickson directs and helps write a story based on the accounts of NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie- played by Eric Bana. That adds to the level of credibility and should help immerse us in the world of…I don’t know…devil stuff happens. You almost can’t make a movie of this sort that doesn’t include all of the cliché aspects of exorcisms. The holy water weapon, the weird scrawling, the crucifix, the voice, the…okay you get it. So the movie needs to be well made with attention to detail and atmosphere or include interesting characters that we respond to. Unfortunately, Deliver Us From Evil isn’t big on any of that. Bana does a fine job playing the ‘non-believing, falling out of faith, God has failed me’ protagonist. We have the sinner-as-a-saint in Édgar Ramírez who plays the helpful priest Mendoza. A nod to Joel McHale for his fine turn as the wisecracking partner specialissssst Butler.


This movie lives for the jump scares which were quite effective and well placed and yes, they even were able to slide in two cats in the cupboard. Sadly, The ball was dropped in a few places. The trailer leads us to believe the daughter is the person in peril and that wasn’t so creepy-supposed to be creepy owl child’s toy was going to signify evil. Not really much going on there. What we have is a story with familiar characters, doing familiar things in a story that unfolds in…the expected way. Not bad by any means, but also nothing you haven’t scene before. If you can’t get enough of this stuff, then Deliver Us From Evil is a worthy flick. I’m not a movie critic, I’m just critiquing a movie.


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Movie Review Transformers Age of Extinction (2014)

July 1, 2014 1 comment

Movie Review Transformers Age of Extinction (2014)

The fourth installment stalls.


Transformers Age of Extinction Poster

Not the smoothest roll-out

The rub: A disjointed disappointment that delights in destruction, adores the droids, but is devoid of details.


Maybe it’s fitting that the Dinobots are the saviors since this franchise is suddenly feeling long in the transforming tooth. Let’s jump right to the obvious. Shia LeBeouf is out and Marky Mark is in. The Autobots are out and the world is in peril again. It’s not so much that I dislike Shia [he was awesome in Nymphomaniac] , but it’s the horny-American teen cliché that I was tired of seeing. Well, this time it’s the overly protective father who is ultra-paranoid over his daughter’s…sexual awareness….um…sexuality… I mean, she’s supposed to be this underage, innocent teenie-bopper that just so happens to dress like she’s much older – also to the point that she is the barely-legal eye candy meant to replace the hormonal homerun hit in Meagan Fox.


We also have the camera-carrying douchebag from Cloverfield back in action as actor T.J. Miller is tapped to play the most annoying character possible. Which is actually hard to do after casting Stanley Tucci as the idiot scientist with an overly-generous number of unfunny punch lines and post action quips. These kind of portrayals have always been my problem with the modern Transformer movies. Are they for adults or kiddies? We have plot points that move along very childish lines, but then we have a high human death toll and cursing. We have Marines/Black Ops that are bad-ass, coupled with sophomoric humor, bits of slapstick and goofy caricatures. The mix doesn’t work for me, but we did get an awesome performance from Kelsey Grammer.


From flight to Knight...

From flight to Knight…

The card returns with stereotypes


Revenge of the Fallen brought us the bumbling, buck-toothed, non-reading ice-cream truck twins. Age of Extinction features a slang-speakin–swag-spankin-mini-sellout. We also get to see that every Chinese person knows enough Kung Fu to beat up special agents and a Samurai Autobot that…well, whatever. There’s a lot of the familiar plot holes and numerous chase scenes that seem to be happening for no good reason. We have evil agents shooting to kill from across the room, but later getting the drop on our heroes and choosing bad-bad guy banter instead of just blasting away. The main action stars are also indestructible as they tumble, fall, crash and smash through walls and windows and get nary a scratch. I’m not sure if it’s the result of the 3-D format, but some of the effects looked off and some of the laws of physics seem totally ignored.


Souls without Spark

There’s a scene where Optimus Prime is engaged in combat and says that his opponent has no soul. It’s a fitting statement because it summarizes my entire feeling about this franchise. The original Transformers were all autonomous …cybernetic…sentient…beings. They had personalities that went well beyond gross characterizations. The identities were matched with what they transformed into and the bots had relationships with each other. Starscream was always plotting and scheming, but Soundwave had Megatron’s back and was his loyal top lieutenant. Now we are only left with slick-evil racers and ready to kick-much ass bravado. Character development is focused squarely on the human side of things and frankly, nobody cares to see that. Let’s see more of the Transformers world. How about the evil leader tell us his plan as he thinks of it, as opposed to some big reveal or weird recounting of the overall plan- right at the point that the writers think we might get lost. I go to these movies to see Transformers. They sold me on the Dinobots and then held them back for the final fight. For a movie that clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, it’s a long time to wait.


Director Michael Bay is doing fine with the sprawling fight scenes, chaos and destruction. It’s up to writer Ehren Kruger (Dark of the Moon, Revenge of the fallen, the ring, Scream 3) to craft a story that weaves around the robots and fully develops them into characters we care about. The Transformers Age of Extinction is by no means a bad movie, it’s just not as good as it should have been. Before this movie series truly does go extinct, there better be some evolving.  I’m not a movie critic, I’m just critiquing a movie.


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