Friday, May 17, 2013

Evolver (1995)

Number Rolled: 12
Movie Name/Year: Evolver (1995)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Mark Rosman
Writer: Mark Rosman
Actors: Ethan Embry, Cassidy Rae, Nassira Nicola, Chance Quinn, Cindy Pickett, John de Lancie, Paul Dooley, Tim Griffin, Eugene Williams, James Marsh, Eric Fleeks, Ian Gregory, Mary Gordon Murray, Lisa Passero, Jack Kenny, Heath McLaughlin, Tahitia Hicks, Brad Blaisdell, Michael Champion, William H. Macy, Lou Cass

Kyle, a 90’s version of an FPS gamer, has worked hard to get the top score on his favorite game. He gets close enough in order to win an amazing prize: a life-size robot. Evolver, from the game of the same name, is programmed so that he and his friends can play live. What starts out as nothing but fun, turns more and more deadly as the artificial intelligence kicks in.

Most of the 90’s movies dealing with computers and video games amuse me. Writers and directors all seemed to see the technology as something straight out of Futurama. The beginning of this film would lead you to assume that this movie believed the same. Soon enough it reverted back to something more time-line appropriate.

This was a basic recipe, as basic as a movie can get. In short, it was boring. The actors weren’t too bad, but the script left a great deal to be desired and anyone who’s ever seen a movie based off the video game and/or inanimate object come to life recipe, will be able to predict almost every minute of the film. That’s not to say it was all bad. The climax was interesting, if a little disjointed, and I did enjoy them showing that the main character wasn’t exactly infallible at his game.

For the 90’s, it was probably a great film. However, a truly amazing movie can withstand the test of time and this one just didn’t.

Overall Opinion – 2/5

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Simple Curve (2005)

Number Rolled: 16
Movie Name/Year: A Simple Curve (2005)
Genre: Drama
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Aubrey Nealon
Writer: Aubrey Nealon
Actors: Kris Lemche, Michael Hogan, Matt Craven, Pascale Hutton, Sarah Lind, Kett Turton, Michael Robinson, Petra Hartley, Hank Hastings, Ben Cotton, Suzinn Robinson, Waneta Storms

Twenty-seven year old Caleb runs a wood shop, with his father Jim, in the mountains. The two seem to be good friends instead of father and son. When a man from Jims past, Matthew, comes back to visit, Caleb begins to get close to him. Though their business is failing, his fathers’ old friend agrees to hire them for a big job. All the while, Caleb seems to be growing further and further away from the world he’s known.

This is not the kind of movie I generally enjoy. I’m not really one for the straight-forward drama. I like my dramas to have a secondary genre; whether it’s comedy or horror doesn’t matter. Complete dramas just tend to bore the life out of me. For that exact reason, there aren’t many on my instant queue. This movie pleasantly surprised me.

I added this to my queue because I like Kris Lemche. He’s not the most popular or celebrated actor out there, but I love him none-the-less. I believe he’s strong at the parts he portrays and it was good to see him as a serious character in a serious movie for once. This is the first movie of his, that I’ve seen, that fits that description and he killed it (in a good way). Michael Hogan and Matt Craven had an interesting dynamic, but I’m not sure it really hit the level that the storyline called for. Each of their interactions with Lemche was amazing, but I think the chemistry between Hogan and Craven alone needed a bit more life than they delivered.

The movie doesn’t quite get to main plot point until you’re well into it. It’s always just underneath whatever’s going on at the moment, but it’s subtle, until it’s not. There weren’t a lot of risks in the story, but the ones they took were very interesting.

A Simple Curve was definitely flawed, but for as flawed as it was, I still loved it. I had to score it as high as I did, because I managed to love it without actually liking the genre. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s impressive.

Overall Opinion – 4/5

Monday, May 13, 2013

Limitless (2011)

Number Rolled: 95
Movie Name/Year: Limitless (2011)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 104 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Leslie Dixon, Alan Glynn
Actors: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish, Andrew Howard, Anna Friel, Johnny Whitworth, Tomas Arana, Robert John Burke, Darren Goldstein, Ned Eisenberg, T.V. Carpio, Richard Bekins, Patricia Kalember

After running into a guy from his past, Eddie learns of a new drug (NZT) that could enhance his mental performance. The downside of the pill remains unlearned as the man convinces Eddie to give it a try. With his mind clear and his life taking an up-swing, Eddie sets higher and higher goals that can never fail; as long as he has the pills.

I thought this movie was better the first time I saw it. Had I rolled for it at that time, and written the review directly following, it likely would have gotten a max score. What this says to me is that re-watch value is lower than first-watch, which I don’t find to be true of my favorite films. For example, I could watch Clerks twice in a row (which I have) and never score it less than max. That doesn’t mean Limitless a bad film, not by a long shot.

It’s incredible, even with the re-watch score factored in. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro play off each other like very few leads I’ve seen and Andrew Howard makes a spectacular low-life (which I legitimately mean as a compliment). The script was brilliant and the plot was thought provoking, at the very least.

What I might have liked the best is that the movie saves you from having to hear some preachy unnecessary moral. Some movies that have the same kind of base plot are mostly setting you up for an ending that’s trying to make you reconsider your life in some way. Sometimes, having that inspiration is fine, but Limitless is just fun.

You have to suspend disbelief on a few things and there are few disjointed moments (outside of when it’s supposed to be). None-the-less, I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the re-watch value continues to decline or if it’s just the fact that I knew the story already.

It certainly makes me think, though. A pill that could upgrade your thought-process by approximately 500%, even with some serious side effects, is very tempting. I’ve asked myself if I would take it, coming to the conclusion that I would want myself to say no, but the temptation would be too much for me.

Would you take it?

Overall Opinion – 4/5