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Poster - Pacific RimI’ve always been confused by the popularity of Guillermo del Toro. Fanboys and girls have been nuts over his properties for years; yet, whenever I watch any of his films, I feel like I’ve been letdown. Why is that? Is it because of the hype, most of which he can’t control? Maybe. Is it because of his enthuasim for projects that, quite frankly, I have interest in? Possibly. Or is it because of the visual edge he always seems to bring to his project? Again, that’s a real possibility. However, save for Pan’s Labyrinth, I’ve always walked away from a del Toro film with a feeling of wanting more from this supposed creative genius.

So, when I found out about Pacific Rim and its concept — I was intrigued. Giant Robots vs Giant Monsters — what testosterone fueled man wouldn’t love that? Add to it a stellar cast (Charlie Day, Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Pearlman, etc) and a script from Travis Beacham (who wrote the great “Killing at Carnival Row” script that has yet to be made) and my expectations were heightened. This could be one of the most epic films ever made and I couldn’t wait for the experience. Needless to say, I wish I could have waited because what I saw was a letdown — a major letdown.

A weak story killed this movie. Aside from the epic fight scenes, there was no real story and no real characters. People went through the motions and at no point did I feel anything for any of the major characters except for the Asian lady. And, the only reason I felt anything for her was because the child actress playing her in a “drift” sequence (A flashback sequence, essentially) was so good as a terrified little girl that it was the only part that made me feel for any character, at their core. Raliegh’s (the lead guy) brother’s death at the beginning did not make me feel anything when it should have. There was also a distinct lack of females in this film and was surprised by it. Normally, it’s not a critique that I’d make but there was only one lead female in this ensemble. Although, I liked his performance, Clifton Collins Jr’s character could have easily been made into a female to add an extra shot of much needed estrogen into this picture. Hell, you didn’t have to change any lines for him, and could’ve gotten away with making his character a lesbian. Charlie Day stole the film and was the standout as a Kajiu loving scientist named Newt and he cemented his status as a bonafide movie star with his performance here.

Pacific Rim

The big selling point, the fights, were surprisingly hidden. What do I mean by this? Well, every major fighting sequence occurred at NIGHT. What? At night? What does that mean? Essentially – you never saw anything during the fights because the Kajiu and Jaegers were masked by the night. Now, I’m assuming this choice was made to cut down on the CGI costs but come on — when you know your final battle is going to be (SPOILER ALERT) AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN (/SPOILER) then you can set your second act fight during the day. Sure, there were glimpses of daytime fights, seen in a flashbacks, but those were only that — glimpses. Nothing longer then a few seconds here and there. The big battles — were all at night. A choice I HATED and did not understand from a purely story perspective.

There was also some very weird character choices made throughout this film along with some very obvious allegories being thrown in for good measure (like the fact that the governments decide to build giant walls to “keep the Kajiu’s out” ala the wall being proposed by the US to stop Mexican’s from hoping the border). I blame this on the writing and well, del Toro’s influence over the project. I have a feel he was behind all of these decision’s and Beacham was just following orders because he’s a good writer (as seen in glimpses in Pacific Rim).

At the end of the day, a weak story, hidden fights (again, why were all the major fights at night?!?), some weird character choices, and the lack of emotional connection to the story and characters caused Pacific Rim, sadly, to be a letdown. I wanted more because I thought there’d be more to love about this.

My recommendation? Wait for this to hit the dollar theaters then watch it. If not, wait for it to show up on Netflix.

**½

Who would have ever thought that a small drama about a biker club would become out of the most shocking shows on television? Currently in its fifth season, with the events of the last few episodes you’d think they were on the march to a series finale. The bloodshed and drama put this show on the top of the must see pile, almost edging out AMC’s Breaking Bad. for the most brutal and compelling show on television. It will be interesting if show creator Kurt Sutter can keep this high energy as the show moves into its sixth season and rumored final seventh season. For now, strap in and enjoy the ride.

Official Episode Description, “Small World”: Jax presents a dangerous proposal to the club.

Sons of Anarchy airs on FX Network at 10pm. What else is on tonight? A little something called the Presidential Debate…

8PM

ABC: Dancing with the Stars (reality competition)
FOX: Raising Hope/Ben and Kate (comedies)
NBC: The Voice (reality competition)
CW: Hart of Dixie (medical drama)
CARTOON: The Looney Tunes Show (animation)
DIY: Holmes on Homes (how to)
GSN: Minute to Win It (game show)

9PM

ABC/NBC/FOX/PBS: Presidential Debate (political)
CW: Emily Owens, M.D. (medical drama)
DSC: Alaska: The Last Frontier (docu)
GSN: Minute to Win It (game show)
ID: Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda (docu)
SYFY: Face Off (competition)
TRAVEL: Airport 24/7: Miami (docu)

10PM

USA: Covert Affairs (action drama)
FOOD: Chopped (competition)
BET: Keyshia & Daniel/The Soul Man (reality)
BRAVO: Flipping Out (docu)
COMEDY: Tosh .0/Brickleberry (clip comedy/comedy)
MTV: Underemployed (drama)
ID: Twisted (docu)

I’ve been a bit iffy on the upcoming Conan the Barbarian reboot. I grew up with the awesome Conan cartoon series and of course have a love for the Arnold flicks. I’m not sure that Jason Momoa can fill Arnold’s shoes and the former Baywatch and Stargate: Atlantis star will need a presence to bring Conan to life.

The smokey teaser trailer they released was a bore, but this character poster with Momoa as Conan is pretty damn cool. He definitely looks the part here, much more so then earlier released photos which made him look too small/puny for the Barbarian. The supporting cast features Avatar‘s Stephen Lang and Hellboy himself Ron Perlman, which lends some credibility to the project until you realize that Rose McGowan is also part of the cast and we are back to square one.

While we wait for the new film we can relive the Arnold classic through the awesomely put together Conan the Barbarian: The Musical.

Posted on June 7th, 2011 by ThePit | Comments Off on New Conan the Barbarian Character Poster
Filed Under Entertainment

FX Shows, It's Always Sunny, Nip Tuck

One of the most innovative channels on television, the FX Network, has revealed their fall start dates for their comedies Sons of Anarchy and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the twisted medical drama Nip/Tuck.

Anarchy, which stars Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, and complete badass Ron Perlman, will begin airing new episodes on September 8th (a Tuesday) at 10pm. The series focuses on the lives of a Northern Californian motorcycle club. This will be the comedy’s second season.

Sunny is easily one of my favorite shows on TV. It is consistently funny while crossing way over the line.  It returns to it’s Thursday  10pm time slot (although I prefer to Tivo it and watch it on Sundays with my coffee and breakfast). It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was created by and stars the team of Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day.  The series co-stars comedy legend Danny DeVito, and Kaitlin Olson. It focuses on a crude group of friends that own a bar in Philly.

The final season of Nip/Tuck will not start airing until October and will only consist of 10 episodes that will wrap up the lives of plastic surgeons Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon). Sadly, I fell out of touch with the show in its forth season (the show is entering its sixth season). The storylines were outrageous from the beginning, but by the forth season, none of the characters were remotely likable. With no one left to root for, what is the point? I’m going to give the new season a chance and I really hope they they can recapture some of the energy and balance that the first two seasons had.

Are you excited for new episodes of any of FX’s fall lineup?

Wow. There is a ton of stuff going on; television shows ending with characters dying left and right, and the “summer” movie season has begun a bit early this year. Here are some cool tidbits from the past week…

  • After a crazy 70 million dollar plus opening weekend, was there any question about if we’d see a 5th Fast and Furious movie? (E Online) My suggestions… Fast and Furious: Pit Stop or Fast and the Furious: Truck Route.
  • I LOVE b-sci-fi and b-horror and Mutant Chronicles looks like a perfect blend of both.  With Ron Perlman, Thomas Jane, Devon Aoki, and the great John Malkovich, we couldn’t ask for a better genre cast. (Yahoo) What do you think? Gonna try to catch it in theaters? Or wait to have a movie night?
  • My new way to waste time? My Brute. You set the match against friends or strangers and sit back and watch the little guys battle it out.
  • This has to be the best excuse I have ever heard anyone use for why they hit someone. Man, I love Woody Harrelson. (CNN)
  • Edgar Wright has started video production diaries for his new film adaption of the popular comic book Scott Pilgrim. You can check ’em out here.
  • If you are a Terminator fan, even if you gave up on the Sarah Connor Chronicles, you’ll want to watch the season two finale. I was pleasently surprised with the episode, which I think was the best of the series. Catch it while it is still online… (Fox)

I saw this in theaters on opening weekend after watching the first one earlier that day. Both were fun, but I actually like the story and action better in the sequel.

Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) team up with renowned, eccentric scientist Johann Krauss (Seth McFarlane) to stop an evil prince (Luke Goss) from releasing and taking control of The Golden Army, a near indestructible army of machines that can wipe out humanity. The film manages to balance riveting action (Hellboy takes on a giant, tentacle laden monster while holding an infant, Shoot Em Up style) and tongue in cheek comedy quite well for a super hero movie. While it doesn’t come close in comparing to other cape capers of the summer (Iron Man, The Dark Knight), Hellboy knows where it stands. It excels, mostly, in Del Toro’s vision of the creatures in Hellboy’s world- a scene that brings the team into a black market of sorts while wearing glasses that see through all spells and guises is breathtaking. The world of creatures is like a mix between Pan’s Labyrinth and Diagon Alley of the Harry Potter films.

Nominations:

Best Makeup
Therefore it’s quite deserved to see those creatures, almost all results of practical make up effects, land itself a nomination in this category. Del Toro’s creatures from Pan’s took home all sorts of gold back in 2007, so it certainly gives me hope. The contenders in the category are very diverse and it could really go any way this year.

***½

This weekend brings us a man who can bring characters from a book to life, along with the continued fight between vampires and werewolves, and an epic showdown of vikings verse aliens verse monsters.

Inkheart from director Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key) is based on a novel by Cornelia Funke, and stars Brendan Fraser as a man who can bring characters from a book to life by reading aloud.  When he is taken hostage by the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis), his daughter (Eliza Bennett) must rally her friends, both real and imaginary, to rescue him. The great Helen Mirren co-stars.

If you are in the mood for supernaural action instead, there is Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Rise is the  third entry into the Underworld series and is an origin story that uncovers the cause of the centuries-old feud between the vampires and werewolves (aka the Death Dealers and the Lycans). Rhona Mitra, Michael Sheen, and Bill Nighy star in the film.

Also opening today, but in a limited release, is Outlander.  The films stars James Caviezel, John Hurt, Sophia Myles, and Ron Perlman with direction by Howard McCain.  Outlander’s plot is really difficult to explain, but in a nutshell it is Vikings teaming up with an alien (Caviezel) to fight a monster.  Oh, and did I mention they fight with futuristic Iron Age weaponry.

I think I’ll be staying in this weekend, how about you?

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