Thursday, March 27, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Hurgan flurgen nurpen dur (amirite, Chef?)




Muppets Most Wanted – 5 out of 5

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
I don't know if it was neccessary to see Animal die an
agonizing death out in the cold...
I said it in my review of The Muppets but I just LOVE the Muppets! As I grew up, my off time from training in all sorts of martial arts and preparing to save the world from hipster zombies was spent watching reruns of The Muppet Show and wearing out the VHS tapes of their films. It was disappointing when their property was sold to Disney and all they did with it was make a couple of extremely disappointing Direct-to-DVD films but it was the opposite of disappointing (appointing?) when Jason Segel convinced The Mouse that he was sitting on a goldmine and The Muppets was made. Since that one was so well received and The Mouse learned the error of his ways, we got a follow-up with Muppets Most Wanted and it is just as awesome as the last film!

                                                                                                         Walt Disney Pictures
Nice to see Walter is a permanent part of the Muppets and not a one-off character.

                                                                               Walt Disney Pictures
Adding Ricky Gervais to anything makes that thing
88% cooler.
After the last movie proves the Muppets are back and bigger than ever, Kermit and the gang need to figure out their next move. Kermit wants to play it safe and work on refining their acts but after a meeting with a tour manager by the name of Dominic Badguy (pronounced “Bad-gee” and is played by Ricky Gervais), the man convinces the crew to do a world tour…much to Kermit’s chagrin. Meanwhile, the world’s most wanted criminal and Kermit look-alike; Constantine, breaks out of his Russian prison and swaps identities with Kermit. Our beloved amphibian who sings about rainbows is sent to the Gulag and kept under lock and key under the watchful eye of its warden Nadya (Tina Fey), while Constantine steals Kermit’s identity and uses the tour to try and pull off the greatest heist of all time…too bad CIA Agent Sam the Eagle and Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) is on the case and on Dominic and Constantine’s heels.

                                                                                                        Walt Disney Pictures
"Search your feelings, Kermit, you know it to be true!"

                                                                             Walt Disney Pictures
Some of my favorite moments of the film involved
these two.
While some might feel I am being generous giving this film my perfect score, I have to defend it by saying that this new experience with the Muppets was just as fun of an experience in the theaters as it was when the ragtag group of puppets hit the theaters after their long absence. The humor is fantastic and what you expect from the googly-eyed monsters and misfits. Constantly they are breaking the fourth wall and making references that span from easy pop culture quips to more complicated bits that might require Google to fully understand. The humor didn’t let up, even when the movie hits the usual Muppet-based tender scenes that throw around the eternal morals of friendship, togetherness and trust (but it wouldn't be a Muppet movie without these). While I was disappointed that 80s Robot didn’t get any play beyond being a background filler, the movie made up for it by acknowledging that Rizzo the Rat got snubbed in the previous film. 


                                                                                                          Walt Disney Pictures
I'm going to snub Rizzo here in this review and put up another photo of Animal.


Like everything before, the Muppeteers bring Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Walter, Sam the Eagle, the Swedish Chef, Rowlf, Animal and all the others to life in a way that becomes more convincing than some actors who mysterious got work and then later wasted the large paychecks they didn’t deserve for doing nothing more than stammering and yelling “Optimus” a lot and then went on to give an effort to become Hollywood’s biggest douche be stealing the works of other people. Seriously, the Muppeteers who brought them to life—performers like Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Matt Vogel and more—are so talented that they can really highlight the humor, enhance the drama and make these puppets come to life in ways that a lot of actors could never hope to achieve with their flesh and blood body. 

                                                                                                         Walt Disney Pictures
The next movie will reveal Kermit has a side-pig.

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
The Christ imagery was a little strange for a Muppet film.
The human performers are also terrific and keeping with the high standard that the Muppets have placed over the years. You have Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell…if that isn’t a trifecta of comedy, then I will never know what funny is and I will joy a monastery tomorrow. But it doesn’t stop at the wickedly funny Gervais, the über-funny Fey and the ultra funny (and the man who plays my hero Phil Dunphy) Burrell, you also get one half of the Flight of the Conchords; Jermaine Clement, Ray Liotta (making his second Muppets appearance) and Danny Trejo adding to the cast and adding to the hilarity. Not to mention, Burrell and Sam the Eagle have some great interactions together, are extremely amusing, and Burrell’s homage to Inspector Clouseau is enough to make me squeal with delight. 

                                                                                                       Walt Disney Pictures
Their next case, to find the Pink Panther diamond.

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
Danny Trejo can literally get in any movie.
The film also adds in a heaping dose of celebrity cameos that makes the film a fun “Who’s Going to Show Up Next?” type of game. Sure, some may find the cameos grating, annoying or even distracting but when you have Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Sean “I don’t know if it is Puff Daddy or Diddy anymore” Combs, Rob Corddry, Celine Dion, Tom Hiddleston, Christoph Waltz and oh so many more, it was really hard for me to find this dynamic to be bad in anyway. In fact, I wanted more cameos and more familiar faces showing up with the iconic Muppets. Serious, how awesome would it be to be in a Muppet film—even as a cameo—and how easy is it to convince celebrities to show up?

                                                                               Walt Disney Pictures
Seriously, I'm sure most calls went, "Hey (Celebrity Name), want to be in a Mupp--"

"YES!"

                                                                              Walt Disney Pictures
I want to live in a world where things like what's going on
in this picture are considered normal.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Muppet film without some great catchy songs that stay with you long after you leave the theater and your girlfriend gets annoyed with you because you won’t stop singing or cease doing a Constantine impression (I’m sorry, honey). The bar was set pretty high when the gang returned and Flight of the Conchord’s Bret McKenzie came in and utterly dominated and created songs that were memorable and, most of all, capable of winning an Academy Award. McKenzie returned this time around and conjured up songs that, in my opinion, were vastly more imaginative than what he did before. Muppet tunes always were simple but what McKenzie did this time around was make the songs a part of the story in a new way. Exposition, plot points and narrative was expressed through complicated and unique songs and all were performed amazingly by the Muppets, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey.  It really gave the film an authentic musical feel.

                                                                                                        Walt Disney Pictures
Tina Fey and Kermit...the horrible reality is there is probably nightmare-inducing
fan fiction about them somewhere in the dark recesses of the 'net.


I was more than excited to see this latest Muppet adventure and Disney really delivered a great film that was extremely hilarious and filled with awesome music. I had a lot of fun at the theater watching Muppets Most Wanted and really hope we get more and more Muppet films so I will never have to outgrow my childish self.

Knights of Badassdom

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Lightning bolt!






Knights of Badassdom – 5 out of 5

First thing I heard about this movie was the title and I said, “Okay, Knights of Badassdom, you’ve officially said enough. I want to watch you.” Then I heard that Steve Zahn and Peter Dinklage were in it and I said, “You didn’t need to sell me on anything else, film. I already declared I will watch you.” Then I saw it was a dark comedy about LARPing and I found myself yelling, “YES! YES! YES! Of course I am going to watch you, film! You didn’t need to continue on the sell but you did and you have me foaming at the mouth!” At this point, I was told by my coworkers that I was being loud and I should stop looking up movie news and get to work.

Seriously, this shit is fun.  Don't knock it until you've tried it.


Sadly not credited, Zahn's awesome WHOOSH in
his hair.
Joe (Ryan Kwanten) is sad. His lady has left him and now he finds himself trying to be cheered up by his buddies Hung (Peter Dinklage) and Eric (Steve Zahn). After getting blackout drunk, Joe wakes up to find himself at a large LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) event. Reluctant to get involved with his geeky past, Hung and Eric eventually convince him to join in the fun and, while performing a mock-mystic ritual on Joe, they accidentally summon a succubus from the netherworld and the game of foam swords, experience points, and “lightning bolt, lightning bolt, lightning bolt” has become a real-life battle for survival against a supernatural evil.

She's suppose to be evil?!?  She looks radiant!

"Um...cometh at me, bro-th?"
Obviously this isn’t a film that mainstream critics who write terrible puns into their reviews for convenient (and awful) one note, soundbyte-like reviews are really going to enjoy (in fact, many of them probably wrote their review before watching it and said, “Knights of Badassdom? More like, Knights of Boredom” or some stupid shit like that) but, that aside, I really found this movie to be hysterical. I’m already a fan of dark comedies and movies that are capable of blending horror film elements with comedy ingredients and I’m already a huge geek who has a history with Dungeons & Dragons and have been to LARPing events, so, even at its worse, I already knew I was going to enjoy this movie.

Fuck, someone left Danny Pudi hanging.


Dark comedies are hard to balance because if you get too silly, the darkness gets too light and if you get too dark, the gags feel awkwardly placed into the story. However, I think the filmmakers of this one really put together a film that was capable of being a good gorefest and a great hilarious ride; the jokes are solid, fun and silly (but not too silly). It also helped matters that the characters are memorable and the actors playing them are talented.

The beast is still radiant!


I really enjoy Peter Dinklage and Steve Zahn as actors. Dinklage is an incredibly talented man and proves it in everything he is in—whether it be in a film like The Station Agent, playing opposite Will Ferrell for a small role in Elf or completely dominating as Tyrion Lannister in the completely epic Game of Thrones. Things are no different in this film and he’s very, very funny as Hung; the drug obsessed LARPer. While his part, sadly, didn’t prove to be as large as I hoped it would have been, his scenes were, without a doubt, hilarious and memorable.

"So...I just got Game of Thrones season 3 on Blu-Ray.  Anyone wanna binge watch?"


Zahn always entertains me and he comes off like the kind of guy that would be fun to hang out with and wouldn’t mind helping you move if you asked him. His likeable factor is here (like in any product he’s in) and he plays well off of every character in the film, especially True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten—who was also fantastic. Honestly, there wasn’t a single dip in the cast department as everyone involved—like Summer Glau, Danny Pudi and the infamous McPoyle; Jimmi Simpson—were fantastic and really did their role great…even if some of their roles were disappointingly short.

Hey look, it's Summer Glau...and right behind her is a throng of people still whining
about Firefly's cancellation.


I try to see Simpson as anyone BUT McPoyle but I just
can't do it.
Knights of Badassdom clearly won’t ever have a broad appeal. Dark comedies are already a hard sell for audiences and when you add the heavy geek influence to it, you pretty much made sure that only those who regularly attend geek conventions will see and appreciate the film. I honestly think that geeks like me will have fun watching this one because, while the movie takes a few easy shots at LARPers and geeks in general, the movie is still very respectful to this element of our culture. A majority of the time, LARPing is shown as a fun activity with a lot of colorful and creative people getting involved with it and it delivers the ultimate fantasy to those who engage in any sort of role-playing game—the opportunity to really strike down a mystic beast!

"Seriously guys...we actually get to kill a demon.  Forget our dead friends and the
mortal danger we are in because this is AWESOME!"


Some might feel I’m being overgenerous with my perfect score for Knights of Badassdom but the fact that I had a lot of fun watching this, never stopped laughing the entire time and it had a fun, unique and interesting story with actors I really enjoy made the film a joy to sit through and something I will watch for years to come.

Uh oh, Peter Dinklage just leveled up to a new level of awesome.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Earth

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I wonder if my Earth 2 self won the Powerball when I lost it...




Another Earth – 3 out of 5

What would you do if you met yourself? Would you go out to lunch, throw cold tater tots at old people or jerk each other off and spend the rest of the afternoon trying to convince each other that things just didn’t get weird? The concept of somehow meeting ourselves has been a philosophical question and the basis for many alternate reality fictions for many, many years. Another Earth does it too…but in a much more boring, independent film cliché way.

Science doesn't matter...not when you have DRAMA!  Fuck, you can almost hear
the lame indie rock soundtrack.


In the night sky one evening a planet exactly like our own suddenly is discovered and dubbed “Earth 2” by the scientists of the world (hey, they’re brilliant but not good at naming stuff). Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) has a prominent future ahead of her and, on this night, discovers she is accepted into MIT. However, the lure of seeing Earth 2 proves to be too much (a night of drinking helped that decision too) and, while stargazing, ends up crashing her car and killing the family of composer John Burroughs (William Mapother). After spending some time in prison, Rhoda is released into the world and is a shadow of her former self. After spending too much time walking around to moody piano music so director Mike Cahill can litter in occasional mentions of Earth 2 and the theories about the people there, Rhoda eventually seeks out John in order to try and make amends…but ends up cleaning his house and then form a relationship with him (oops). While all this is going on, a contest is created for a voyage to Earth 2 and to meet the counterparts, twins and doppelgangers that reside there. Rhoda ends up winning the contest and has to wrestle with the thoughts of going, giving her ticket to John in hopes that his family may still be alive on the other planet and coming clean with the truth about that infamous night that ruined the lives of both her and John.

Another Earth isn't any excuse for that hair, sista!


I really liked the concept of this film. I like the questions it ask when it concerns the idea that a planet, completely mirrored from our own, suddenly exists and I like potential the drama of John and Rhoda’s story has…however, the end result just didn’t feel like it was living up to its potential and the movie felt like it was relying too much on independent movie clichés and the fact that, if director Mike Cahill makes it LOOK artistic, no one in the film festival circuit will notice that really nothing new is going on here and the one unique aspect of it takes a backseat to drama that has been done and been done better.

I get that Robin Taylor is just a bit part character actor but is he capable of doing a project
with a different hairstyle?

On Earth 2, the movie Another Earth doesn't come off as
so boring and generic.
I can overlook that the film has a small budget and can overlook that both Mapother and Marling aren’t that memorable in their roles but the way the film ignores all the potential in the Big Blue Orb that is now orbiting the OTHER Big Blue Orb, that I can't forgive. The movie offers up a lot of interesting questions about Earth 2—for example, the planet is essentially populated with copies of us and do our timelines follow all of the same events and is it possible for events to suddenly change (Mark on Earth 1 turns right while Mark on Earth 2 gets diarrhea). The movie is even deliciously vague on many points (like where the fuck did this planet come from and why wasn’t the combined gravity just obliterating both of us?) and the movie has a killer ending that raises up some nice questions and possible discussion…

I just wish the rest of the movie could have lived up to these aspects.

Who needs thought-provoking Sci-Fi when you have a dude reading the paper?


I fully realize that this film wasn’t meant to be an epic Sci-Fi tale about a second Earth suddenly appearing and people jumping all over each other to meet their other selves and that the heart of the film was about the connection between two people and how a bond was formed due to a terrible tragedy and that this sudden appearance of a new planet offers a chance to see if their lives could have ended different and if they could do something to right the wrongs. This could have been fine if the film didn’t look and feel exactly like every other fucking independent film festival circuit drama out there. This movie made Earth 2 feel like an afterthought and it really felt like writers Mike Cahill and Brit Marling were more worried about showing scenes of Rhoda (played by Brit, of course) walking around in slow motion with an acoustic rock band music video filter over the shot and an emo piano playing soundtrack. The third time this dynamic came up in a piss poor excuse to create narrative and exposition, I realized that the script was no more than (maybe) ten pages long and the whole excuse of this film was for Brit Marling to wander around looking like she’s auditioning for a Goo Goo Dolls video.

You can almost hear the song "Name" playing...


On Earth 2, Rhoda spends more time sitting around than anything else.

 

However, the film festival goers, movie critics and dudes who buy AFI books at Barnes and Noble eat that shit up and think they are watching amazing insights into the human condition and ignore the fact that they seen this movie a million times over and the only thing that makes this different from the “I’m sad because of feelings” story is that this one has another Earth…and that Earth is nothing more than a plot device and a mask to hide the fact this film is pretty generic.

"If we put me in the film, we can save on money and show a lot of me walking around!"


I know I sound really harsh and mean but that’s really all I saw in this film. I liked the concept and liked where it, occasionally, feels like it’s going but, other than Earth 2, there’s nothing original or unique going on in the film. Marling’s acting isn’t anything special and I’ve seen Mapother better in other works so, other than bringing up a couple of good discussion questions and having a great ending, Another Earth doesn’t offer up much that made it stand out to me.

Sure it's about a mirror planet but let's focus on the walking!


Yes!  More walking!

Put her in a dress and let her...WALK!!!

The Counselor

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Seriously, does anyone actually think Cameron Diaz is a good actress?




The Counselor – 2 out of 5

I guess if you have a weak script, you can try and cover it up with lots of explosions or pointless nudity but, if you don’t want to do that, just add a bunch of really talented actors (and Cameron Diaz) and maybe the audience won’t notice that the film really doesn’t have much going on in the story or plot.

But it does have Javier Bardem with ridiculous hair!

Fassbender, seen here turning into The Joker.
Okay, so this movie opens with Michael Fassbender (playing a character called the Counselor) going downtown on Penélope Cruz (who plays the Counselor’s love; Laura) and it pretty much doesn’t get any better from there. The Counselor gets told by his buddy Reiner (Javier Bardem) that he isn’t using his status as a lawyer as profitably as he could be. So, now the Counselor wants to get involved in the drug trade and meets with a man named Westray (Brad Pitt) and gets in deep in a deal that will, if successful, pay off GREATLY. How greatly? Did you not see how I capitalized the word? Of course, it wouldn’t be a movie if the deal went down and the Counselor made a bunch of sexy cash. After a member of the cartel is murdered, the act is weakly (very weakly) linked to him and now his life is threatened and he needs to get out of the country fast…but the cartel won’t let him leave that easily.

How exactly does she get work?

Even Javier can't figure out her appeal.  Seriously, he looks
mystified.
The one thing that really stuck out in my mind when I saw the trailer for this film was the fact that Ridley Scott directed it and the fact that the trailer literally tells you nothing about the story and, instead, focuses on how many stars are in it. After watching it, I realized the reason they don’t talk about the story is because of how weak it was and how stupid the film’s main plot point is. It’s possible this movie could have been decent—hell, if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Fassbender, Bardem and Pitt, I would have written this film off as a 1 out of 5—but the story isn’t strong at all and it’s hard not to laugh at the film’s catalyst for “tension.”

Pitt can hypnotize all mortal men with that stare...might be the only reason I gave it a
2 out of 5.


The whole caused for problems in this film is a single death that very, very, very, very weakly is connected to the Counselor and then the cartel decides he needs to die. Basically, the man who works for the cartel is murdered and the drugs he was in charge of getting is stolen and the Counselor once represented the man’s mother and did her a favor by getting him out of a speeding ticket. After he is killed the mother said, “Ah, obviously my lawyer who’s done nothing but right by me has killed my son and now he must die.” The link that basically creates the story for the film is the cartel and the boy’s mother thinks it’s suspicious that he gets the dude out of jail in time to die. That’s honestly the best explanation the movie offers for deciding that the Counselor needs to be hunted by drug dealers. It’s pretty laughable and makes the cartel look like a bunch of brain-dead monkeys in the film as they give into internet commenters-like knee jerk reactions rather than actually take a moment and realize that their business is ruthless and it isn’t beyond the question that a third party may be out there to kill in order to destroy their business. It really felt like no care was placed into finding a reason to put the Counselor’s life in danger…fuck, more care was put into the carpet munching scene with Fassbender and Cruz than was put into the rest of the film.

Seriously, production was making love to this scene and ignoring everything else.



"Oh, look up there, it's a better movie!"
But a shitty story doesn’t matter because, like I said, if you cram enough stars into the film, who will notice the bad story? Actually, a lot of people. There’s a bunch of talented actors populating the film (and, for some reason, Cameron Diaz with an accent that seems to come and go with every other word) and each of these actors are doing a fantastic job. However, their great performances only highlight how little was done to this story because you see these characters having grandiose reactions to plot elements that really didn’t need such reactions. For example, when the Counselor is informed the cartel thinks he killed the kid and now they want his head, he flips out and forgets to say, “Um, the cartel does realize that their very business makes them a target of other drug kingpins and it would be silly for me to invest my money and risk my life to kill the kid that I just got out of jail and have represented his mother. The cartel does realize they have enemies, right?”

It's like the production acknowledged that they had to add more recognizable and talented
people in order to cover up the fact Cameron Diaz was in the film.


If only the movie allowed the leopards owned by Javier Bardem's
character to drive an SUV...it would have improved the story.
The Counselor clearly wants to be a slick, yet gritty, crime thriller with colorful characters and Javier Bardem’s wacky hairstyle. It clearly wants to be a Quentin Tarantino flick as it tries to create dialogue similar to the Pulp Fiction director and will incorporate scenes that feel out-of-place but should play a part (for example, a scene where Reiner describes Cameron Diaz’s character having sex with a car…yeah, you heard me right. THAT also received more attention than the plot of the film.) but, unlike Tarantino, writer Cormac McCarthy and director Ridley Scott can't match Tarantino’s magic and their approach just feels like a sloppy attempt at mimicking the man that gave us such epics as Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained. While the film has a great cast who are all doing their jobs fantastically (and then you have Cameron Diaz, for some reason—it’s like production said, “Stop, we have enough talent in the film, just pick whoever for the role of Malkina), the cast can’t save a film that feels like it was only giving half-effort in the script department…however, they were the only reason I gave it a 2 out of 5...that, and Brad Pitt hypnotized me.

The Last Days on Mars

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! My last days on Mars was spent doing puzzles...my last days were boring.




The Last Days on Mars – 2 out of 5

The Red Planet...Dr. Manhattan spent some of his nakedness there building a crystal palace where he could press ham to any planet in the galaxy, Curiosity went there and took one of the greatest selfies in the history of the stupid word that is selfie and even Ice Cube has been associated with the Mother in the acronym My Very Educated Mother Just Served Up Nine Pizzas that helped me learn the planets names when I was a kid and, while there, made us question whether or not he should continue an acting career…which, in my opinion, is pretty much the standard you get from him when he’s in a role. Anyway, movies, books, real life—we’re all kinda interested in this planet. Why? Because it could possibly contain the possibility to hold life, it’s so close and it has the potential to have three-boobed hookers sometime in the future. Too bad nobody told the makers of The Last Days on Mars about the limitless (and boobed) potential of this planet.

Wait a minute...isn't this Mass Effect?


The final days of a six month mission to Mars is coming to an end and, like a police officer days from retirement, that’s when the shit decides to go sentient and get up and throw itself into the fan. One of the crew members finds a curiosity (no, not the rover) when he was drilling for soil samples and discovered a variant of life existing on the planet. However, it wouldn’t be a movie if they found the life was harmless and it is soon discovered that the life has taken over members of the mission and turned them into zombie-like monsters out for death and mayhem. The once scientific mission dissolves from one of discovery to one of survival as astronaut Vincent Campbell (Liev Schreiber) has to blast off and leave the red soil of Mars behind in his wake.

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control...I'm getting the fuck out!"


I had absolutely no expectations for The Last Days on Mars when I first popped the DVD in other than the fact Liev Schreiber will probably be great in it (and Elias Koteas will be excellent too) but, somehow, the film decided to be even worse than I expected. Reminder: I had NO EXPECTATIONS for this film. In retrospect, I could have thought this movie would have been decent, alright or, at the very least, watchable but the end result was an unimaginatively boring film that felt like it had no real interest in making something that would remain in your memory beyond remembering the initial fact you’ve seen the movie and have no desire to see it again.

That's the same look I had on my face while watching this.


While I found the concept to be interesting as I started to get into the film and started to see the story get rolling, ultimately, the film pretty much ends up going through the motions of a cookie-cutter alien/zombie/infection story and then goes as far as offering up nothing really new or original to the formula. Even the idea of setting the film on Mars did nothing to help the boring story. There was no tension, thrills or even character development going on in this one. Shit, without the help of IMDb and Wikipedia, I couldn’t even recall if the characters had names or even defining traits after watching this movie because everyone is a faceless, empty canvas that has no highlights or even defining traits…beyond them being scientists and astronauts. In fact, each character is so bland that each actor might as well have been playing their part with their spacesuit helmets on and tinted so you can’t see their faces…it would have, literally, changed nothing about their characters.

"So...do we have names or...?"


Okay..so the characters may be one-dimensional and forgettable—it happens all the time in movies (fuck, some actors wouldn’t even have a career without this dynamic) but, this aside, surely proven actors like Liev Schreiber (a man with a name that autocorrect hates and wants to call Live Schreiber) and Casey Jones himself; Elias Koteas, must have been decent and doing all they can with what little the script was offering them. I will concede this point to an extent…both men are decent but it doesn’t change the fact that both look like they didn’t want to do this movie. Each man is giving just the amount of effort that’s needed to move this lethargic thriller forward.

Liev Schreiber, shown here trying to find out what went wrong in his life to find
himself taking a role for the money.


Then you have the zombie creatures…

"Eh, good enough," the makeup department.


Despite being the whole reason for the film, they felt completely, and absolutely, pointless. Their make-up effects aren’t memorable (or even visible most of the movie) and they just, ultimately, felt like the writer pushed himself away from his laptop and shrugged his shoulders as he gave up because he couldn’t come up with a threat that was any better. Besides, Doctor Who already did a better job with zombie-like monstrosities on Mars…and they did it with a smaller budget…and David Tennant. So, in reality, The Last Days on Mars couldn’t compete to begin with.

"I was Casey Jones!!!"


As much as I like Liev Schreiber (it’s Liev, not live, autocorrect), he just couldn’t hold this all by himself. There was too many factors—including the main threat—that just felt like it didn’t want to do anything to differentiate itself or even try to be entertaining or memorable. In the end, the entire film felt like the studio had some extra bucks to kill and signed contracts from Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas and wanted to make the easiest thing before they expired.