Europa Report tells the story of a band of astronauts who set out to discover life on Jupiter’s aquatic moon. Of course they get considerably more than they bargained for in their process. Has there ever been a science fiction movie where an intrepid group of scientists venture out into unknown only to find nothing? Director Sebastian Cordero effectively merges science fiction, horror, and the found footage subgenre into one of the year’s most thoughtful films.
Oh, radio rock. What started with some music videos on MTV ended nearly a decade later when I got rid of my car and hearing many of these bands outside the fleeting context of the daily commute was a struggle. The melodies were simple, the hooks nearly primordial, the lyrics almost plain and lengths rarely exceeded four minutes, but for most of the aughts this was the soundtrack of my life. There are plenty of rock bands I was introduced to at the same time, like Powerman 5000, but since they never got airplay, they sadly didn’t get a slot here. Now it’s time to reflect on the good ol’ times, of that bittersweet era of my musical childhood…
I’ve never been a fan of Anderson Silva. Even since his days in PRIDE – the Japanese fighting organization that’s been used as a talent farm for the UFC on more than one occasion – I knew he wasn’t the kind of fighter I’d like to watch. Sure, he’s got power. Sure, he’s fast. Sure, it’s impressive to watch him dodge a dozen punches in a row. All of those things would be major attractions to me if it weren’t for the fact that the guy is incredibly full of himself.
This sequel to Universal’s surprise 2010 hit knows that it’s meant for children and sets out to please only that audience. It works. Bright, colorful, and well-acted, Despicable Me 2 boasts everything necessary to thrill young children. Parents may find themselves checking their cell phones, however. They’ll find none of the depth or heart contained in Pixar’s WALL-E or DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon.
With his adaptation of The Lone Ranger, Gore Verbinski reboots a story no one really asked for, but he manages to accomplish his task with panache. Verbinski—one of the most pop culture literate directors currently working in Hollywood—appears to suffer from attention deficit disorder in the best possible sense. Never content to simply play in one genre, the filmmaker consistently attempts to cram as many influences into one film as he possibly can. It’s as if he believes this is the last movie he will ever make, and therefore, he intends to use this production to film all of the movies he’s ever wanted to make…all at once. The result is a delightfully demented Western that’s equal parts Spaghetti Western, horror movie, and slapstick comedy.
We have two cops. One’s a prim-and-proper, by-the-book FBI agent; no one likes her because she’s difficult to work with and arrogant. The other is an unstable lunatic who, despite also being good at her job, terrifies the rest of her local police precinct. Through a series of whacky mishaps, the professional federal agent and the wild card police detective end up working together to take down an anonymous drug kingpin. Shenanigans ensue. Director Paul Feig’s follow-up to the commercially successful and critically acclaimed Bridesmaids plays like the American answer to Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz. Is it clichéd? Yes. Is it funny? Absolutely.
A group of terrorists breach the White House and take control of the mansion. The President is trapped inside. The outside world is powerless to do anything. Only one man has the ability to thwart the terrorists and their scheme to jumpstart World War III. Wait…didn’t I already review this movie? And didn’t it suck the first time around?
It’s not terribly often that two (or more) major Kickstarters conclude their campaigns within hours of each other, but that’s what happened today. Often times, we give our dollars and they just kinda go on without us until we get the e-mail that they’re done and our bank accounts were charged. While it’s too late to chip in now, let’s go over and see what you may have missed! Disclosure: I’m running my own Kickstarter campaign at the moment and I backed both of these projects.
Like a lot of curious teenagers around the turn of the century, I was quickly learning everything I could about acquiring music online. Long before iTunes, even longer before Zune and Spotify’s subscriptions, downloading MP3s was a wild frontier. You’d hit up one site which had some of the songs you wanted, but some were rubbish quality, so you’d hop to the next site and so forth. In an era when a four-minute radio hit would take ten times that amount of time to acquire, Napster was grooming all these disparate communities into one place where you could eventually find everything you ever wanted. It was the beginning of one of history’s most glorious disruptions. It was also the beginning of the end for Napster.
I’ll be upfront: I’ve never read Max Brooks’ World War Z and I have no intention of reading it. Most zombie movies and books skip the apocalypse and jump right into the post-apocalypse. Why? Because slow-moving zombies—little more than shambling meat sacks with teeth—would never be able to bring down human civilization. I will never be able to swallow that premise, and thus, I have no intention of wasting my time reading a book devoted exclusively to that premise. Max Brooks could be the Cormac McCarthy of zombie fiction, and it wouldn’t change my opinion. That said, however, this complete bastardization of Max Brooks’ novel is actually watchable. Fans of the book will be disappointed, but casual movie goers should find plenty to like here.