Lightning Review: Godzilla

Godzilla (2014) movie posterSynopsis
When a drilling company accidentally awakens an ancient creature, Godzilla appears to stop it. But when humanity is stuck in the middle, what cost will the military go to stop the massive creatures?

Review
Have you ever walked out of a movie thinking “That wasn’t what I expected,” but in a good way? That’s how I felt about Godzilla. This is a movie where the title character/creature is used more as a backdrop for the story, rather than the central focus of the film. He is completely missing from the first third of the film, giving us time to get to know the human characters. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting considering the movie is named ‘Godzilla‘ but I felt this unconventional approach worked well. Bryan Cranston did great and is without a doubt the standout performance. The sound work was awesome. Not only with the sound of Godzilla but also with creating tension by getting softer or muffled or even no sound at the right moments. The action picked up in the last act and showed off some great visual effects. The monstrous fight that happened might be one of my favorite movie fights. Although the titular character gets the least screen time of anyone, Godzilla is an entertaining disaster movie that gets more fun as it moves along, finishing with an epic fight that will having you cheering at the screen.

Rating
3.5/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Gareth Edwards – Director
Max Borenstein – Screenplay
Dave Callaham – Story

Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Ford Brody
Bryan Cranston – Joe Brody
Ken Watanabe – Dr. Ichiro Serizawa
Elizabeth Olson – Elle Brody
Carson Bolde – Sam Brody
Sally Hawkins – Vivienne Graham
Juliette Binoche – Snadra Brody
CJ Adams – Young Ford Brody
David Strathairn – Admiral William Stenz

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Inception (2010) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Cinema Parrot Disco

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews. Thanks for joining in, Drew! Now let’s see what he has to say about Inception, IMDB rank 14 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Inception Review
Watched: 2/28/2014

Synopsis
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are “extractors,” a type of thief who enters a target’s dream to steal information. Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires them and their team to plant an idea inside someones head, or “inception,” a task many consider to be impossible. The target is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), son of Saito’s dying competitor. Arthur tries to refuse the…

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Godzilla (2014) Trailer

Official Synopsis: An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

The marketing for Godzilla is an example of how to do trailers right.  It reminds me a lot of Cloverfield where we are only getting glimpses of the beast but never seeing the whole thing.  Other than his back in posters and the trailers and his face for a second or two at the end of this trailer, not much is seen of Godzilla.  So far much hasn’t been given away about the plot except for destruction and a sense of helplessness of the military against the Godzilla.

Bryan Cranston is a very versatile actor, so I’m excited to see him on screen.  I didn’t realize Ken Watanabe was in this film so my excitement level went up a few points when I saw/heard him in the trailer.  Not much is seen yet of Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson except for a few brief shots.  If there is a second trailer hopefully they will be more prevalent then.

I know Godzilla is supposed to be tall, but if the poster below is accurate, I think he may be too tall.  As much flack as the 1998 Godzilla receives, I do think the size of Godzilla was a good fit.  But I guess on the flip side, by having him be really, really big it will just make his defeat that much more gratifying.  We’ll see what happens I guess.

Godzilla hits theaters May 16, 2014.  Directed by Gareth Edwards, it stars Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Victor Rasuk.

Godzilla (2014) movie poster

Batman Begins Review

Batman Begins movie posterSynopsis
After being away for eight years, Bruce Wayne returns to his home in Gotham City. Using what he learned from his time training with the League of Shadows, he takes up the mantle of Batman and begins a crusade to rid Gotham of crime and corruption, starting with Scarecrow and his drug operation.

Review
I grew up with Batman: the Animated Series in the 90s and Justice League in the early 2000s (or Batman and his Amazing Friends as I like to call it). And although I don’t read the Batman comics, I try to stay up-to-date with what is going on in his books. So you could say Batman is pretty close to my heart. As good as Michael Keaton’s Batman was, it wasn’t really an origin story for the character. Batman Begins looks to establish a definitive Batman origin story, and create a dark and gritty Gotham City that is less exuberant and more grounded than the Joel Shumacher Batman films.

The Gotham City in Schumacher’s films evolved into a place full of neon signs and cartoonish characters. It may have started out strong, but it become a mess that tried too hard to display its comic book roots. The Gotham City presented in Batman Begins returns to that grittiness of the 1989 Batman, but doesn’t become overly stylized. You can imagine this Gotham is a real place. Not only is the setting more grounded, but Batman’s equipment is as well. His suit, gadgets, and vehicles are all more realistic than those in previous Batman movies. It’s more fitting with the movie’s more serious tone.

Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul are not iconic Batman villains, but I liked the fact they used lesser-known members of his rogues gallery. They could have played it safe and done someone like the Joker or Catwoman, but instead chose B-list villains (Well Ra’s may be considered A-List, but he hasn’t had much mainstream exposure). They took a risk and it payed off because it allowed for a great set-up for Batman’s take down of Gotham’s crime.

I don’t think there could have a better cast assembled for this film. Christian Bale is perfect as both a young Bruce Wayne and Batman. It’s funny how none of the previous actors didn’t change their voice when they were portraying Bruce versus when they were portraying Batman. Now after Bale took the part, it seems like it should be a no-brainer. Michael Caine does great as Alfred and Bruce’s mentor. Gary Oldman as Sargent Gordon (not commissioner yet), Liam Neesan as Henri Ducard, and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane, all fantastic. And Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, well, when isn’t Freeman awesome? Only one I am a little iffy about is Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. She doesn’t do terrible, but she doesn’t step up and basically is just not as great as the rest of the cast around her.

Han Zimmer’s score as become iconic and really adds to the atmosphere. I instantly recognize his Batman scores when they come on my Pandora station. And the best part is it balances well with the rest of the sound work. Sometimes a film’s score is too overpowered and covers up the dialogue. But not here. It’s regulated to quiet background when necessary, and loud and prevalent when it needs to be.

I can’t think of very many negative things to say against this film.  With a superb cast, a more grounded world, and an amazing score, Batman Begins is the perfect superhero origin story and first entry in a Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Rating
4.5/5

For the rest of The Dark Knight trilogy, check out my reviews for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.