Friday, February 1, 2013

Alter Egos (2012)

Number Rolled: 13
Movie Name/Year: Alter Egos (2012)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 77 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Jordan Galland
Writer: Jordan Galland
Actors: Kris Lemche, Brooke Nevin, Joey Kern, Danny Masterson, John Ventimiglia, Christine Evangelista

There was this thread on reddit that I was browsing through a few weeks ago. I can’t remember the exact question, but I’ll give you the gist. It asked readers what three unrelated movies would fit together as a trilogy to create a good story. I wish I could remember the wording or find the link for it, but I forgot to save it. If I can ever find it, I promise to credit whomever it was that posted it. If you have the link, please post it in the comments below or contact me privately and I will edit this post later.

Stop asking what the hell this has to do with the movie. I’m getting there.

Up until recently, my MMORPG poison of choice was City of Heroes (RIP). On the last day that it existed, my very first hero (Icy Redemption) stood on the steps of City Hall in Atlas Park on the Virtue server, with her torch held high. There was something like nine years of time I put into that game and I had a ridiculous amount of characters. I saved the pictures and back stories for all of them, and felt like a moron when I cried of the loss of the game. I’d just finished college, just graduated. I suddenly had time to play, and the game was just gone. It was still very popular, too.

Now, ever since I read through that reddit thread, I’ve been making those connections in my head every time I see something that could fit. Not just with movies, but also with TV shows or video games, even books. Alter Egos just became a movie that I found one of those connections with.

City of Heroes was an MMORPG that was based around exactly what it sounds like it was based around. Heroes. A city of them. They roamed the streets, kicking the asses of evildoers and the evil Nemesis or Rikti or Crey… and everything was a Crey conspiracy. The heroes had funding. Their starting point in the beginning of the game (not including training zones or Praetoria) was City Hall.

Alter Egos is about a city full of heroes that have lost funding and public support. You follow the story of Alter Ego Fridge (Kris Lemche) and his mundane counterpart, Brendan, as he overcomes the stresses in this post-heroes-are-cool world. You get to see him face issues as both of his personalities.

This movie debuted at the Fantasia Film Festival on July 24, 2012. If it had debuted after NC Soft closed down Paragon Studios (the development team responsible for City of Heroes) on August 31, 2012, I would swear this movie was made specifically as a continuation of City of Heroes.

All that being said, the movie has gotten some crap reviews. Its current rating on Rotten Tomatoes is about 25%. Personally, I think it should be higher. I really enjoyed this movie. I’m sure that believing it fits as a sequel to my dearly departed City of Heroes has a hand in how much I enjoyed it, but even without that, it was a decent movie.

I thought the actors were good and I thoroughly enjoyed the story line. In fact, if we lived in a world where superheroes existed and lost funding, I think that’s how it would have turned out.

I think the reason the rating is so low is because it is an independent movie with a low budget. Some of the effects were a little ‘spilled some ketchup’ and the costumes were more equivalent to Kick Ass than The Avengers. It’s not what people expect. We’re currently living in a superhero obsessed world. We’ve got all the Batmans and Supermans and X-men and Avengers that we can handle. So, when a little movie like this comes along that’s pretty good, but has less insane superheroes (and a smaller budget), it gets overshadowed. I think this movie is worth a shot, especially if you are still mourning the end of City of Heroes.

Overall Opinion – 4/5

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Forgotten (2004)

Number Rolled: 30
Movie Name/Year: The Forgotten (2004)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Joseph Ruben
Writer: Gerald Di Pego
Actors: Julianne Moore, Christopher Kovaleski, Matthew Pleszewicz, Anthony Edwards, Jessica Hecht, Linus Roache, Gary Sinise, Dominic West, Scott Nicholson, P.J. Morrison, Robert Wisdom, Tim Kang, Kathryn Faughnan, Alfre Woodard

Screw the reviews, I liked this film.

A woman loses her son in a plane crash and goes to a therapist who works hard to convince her that her memory has been faulty. Evidence builds up to show that the son might not be dead, instead, he may actually never have existed. Unwilling to believe that she is delusional, Telly (played by Julianne Moore) goes on a mission to find someone who remembers her son, Sam. She comes across Ash (played by Dominic West) who eventually remembers, not only Sam, but his own daughter from the same supposed plane crash. They work together to thwart the police and FBI while they look for answers to the mystery of the lost memory of their kids.

It’s got a creepy kind of Twilight-Zone storyline to it. The story doesn’t let on that there’s a supernatural twist until about a half hour to forty minutes in, though there is some foreshadowing and implicating done that allows you to arrive to the conclusion on your own. In fact, if you really think about it, predicting the ending isn’t very difficult, but you would have to use your brain throughout the story to do so.  

To be honest, the story is a tad underdeveloped. The way they bring in the supernatural factor is kind of, ‘meh.’ It feels like they could have used a better catalyst to explain that portion. The ending, also, didn’t seem to answer all of the questions even those directly posed from the climax. I have learned there’s an alternate ending on the DVD. Supposedly, it is better than the one they used. Aside from that, there were some missteps in the filming; shaky camera scenes that really had no purpose in being wobbly, for instance.

It is possible that the movie isn’t as good as I seem to believe it is. The actors were good enough to make me care about the characters and their stories, regardless of the script. That’s not really a usual thing. The script was most likely mediocre, but the delivery, especially from Julianne Moore, made it seem exceptional.

I saw this movie once before and I think I might have seen the alternate ending because I either dreamed about another scene or I saw a scene that wasn’t in this version. It was kind of strange waiting for a scene that would never come - but certainly fitting for the title.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cupid (1997)

Number Rolled: 5
Movie Name/Year: Cupid (1997)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 95 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Doug Campbell
Writer: David Benullo
Actors: Zach Galligan, Ashley Laurence, Mary Crosby, Joseph Kell, Annie Fitzgerald, Henry Brown, Margaret Blye, Michael Bowen, Alina Thompson, Michael Fairman, Christopher Kriesa, Arabella Holzbog

This movie was not described well in Netflix’s one sentence blurb. What Netflix had goes as follows: “A woman develops a huge crush on her handsome co-worker, but he turns out to be a murderous psycho who ruthlessly calculates her compatibility.” Let me deconstruct this for you. The ‘psycho’ was actually a Greek/Roman mythology fanatic that believed down to the depths of his soul in the myth of Cupid and Psyche. The delusional male was not the woman’s co-worker. In fact, he was independently wealthy and worked only as an independent writer. Lastly, he didn’t do much calculating of their compatibility, he took one look at her and knew their compatibility.

So, I’m going to rewrite that one sentence blurb here so that it’s actually for this movie, and not whatever movie that thought it was supposed to be for. “A woman moves to L.A. where she finds herself dating a delusional man who believes that she is Psyche and he is Cupid.” That is my one sentence that actually depicts the correct plot.

I had my issues with this movie. The soundtrack made me want to throw my popcorn at the screen; in fact, it often overshadowed the dialog so much, that I couldn’t hear everything without turning the volume up to the most ridiculous level. Then there was the variation of the Psyche/Cupid myth used in the script was so deviant from the actual, that it might as well have been something entirely different. Lastly, the ending was horrible. It was just a train-wreck. Like the writer got bored and just threw together whatever clich├ęs he could think of.

However, aside from those issues, it was ok. The thing I’ll remember most about this movie is how annoyed I am at the perversion of the Cupid/Psyche myth, which I’m actually quite fond of in its pure state.

Overall Opinion – 2.5/5

If you are interested in the actual myth of Cupid and Psyche, you can find a decent version here: