Tag Archives: chris pratt

Movie Review – The Tomorrow War (2021)

Aliens! Time travel! Chris Pratt’s Aw Shucks Everyman Demeanor!

BQB here with a review of Amazon’s latest (first?) sci-fi blockbuster.

In its early days, streaming media brought us a new age of golden television, with a lot of hits coming to the forefront that would have otherwise been lost. Lately, in the past few years, IMO, streaming service generated movies and/or TV have been rather stale, stagnant – devised by committee tripe designed to appeal to the widest possible audience without really achieving anything.

In my further opinion, Amazon has been the worst at creating its own content. At least Netflix gave us House of Cards and Stranger Things. Hulu gave us The Handmaid’s Tale, though it looks like they’re going to milk that for all its worth and never come up with something new.

Amazon has had a couple of interesting flicks here and there. While I would never watch it again for fear of being swept into a depression coma, Manchester-by-the-Sea was a sad, poignant study of how sometimes a man can screw up his life so badly that a happy ending is simply not possible. I also enjoyed 2019’s The Aeronauts, about a death defying flight in a hot air balloon in the 1800s.

But by and large, Amazon really stunk it up. I finally ponied up the dough for their streaming service in March to watching Coming to America 2 and while it had its fun moments, it was sad, watching the great comedian Eddie Murphy, who no doubt still has plenty of funny left in him, be proverbially chained up like a captured tiger in a cage, unable to roar and make us roar with laughter because, OMG, he might offend someone somewhere and Amazon can’t have that. Someone might get so offended they might go to another service that will allow them to buy a toothbrush and a tin drum of popcorn and a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers and have them delivered the next day by a minimum wage worker who has to pee in a jar because they aren’t allowed pee breaks.

Where was I? Oh, right. A movie review. Anyway, I’d been thinking about getting around to cancelling Amazon Prime because the movies weren’t worth the monthly cost, and sure Prime allowed my fuzzy bunny slippers to be delivered earlier, but I’d rather wait and save the dough. But I’ll admit this movie was pretty good and thus I’ll wait a bit longer to cancel the service.

Chris Pratt stars as an Iraq War veteran turned high school science teacher who dreams of doing something big with his life, but can’t catch a break. He’s married to hottie Betty Gilpin and has a daughter but he dreams of doing great things with science. One wonders, if he dreams so much of being a great science, why he doesn’t go study more science, but it is a movie.

Time travelers from the future arrive to inform us that in 30 years, the world will be overrun by freaking scary ass aliens. A debate ensues as to whether or not present folk should venture forth into the future to assist future people in the fight. Some say yes because these people are our collective kids. Some say no because, you know, the aliens aren’t attacking us now so eff the future people, it’s their problem.

The debate becomes moot when a worldwide draft is handed down, and literally everyone and I mean everyone is drafted. Dark humor ensues at the start of the film when Pratt is drafted and with his soldier training, most lead a rag tag group of civilians against an alien horde. You’ve got people showing up to fight in regular clothes, grandmas struggling just to put their boots on, people who have never handled a gun before, it’s a mess. But that’s how bad the problem is – doesn’t matter if you’re old or incompetent at fighting, if you have a pulse, the govt will stick a gun in your hand and demand you travel to the future to fight aliens.

Amidst this chaos, Pratt meets his daughter, all grown up (Yvonne Strahovski.) They could have played up the father/daughter working together while they are the same age angle more, maybe even for laughs, but they did it very straight here, Pratt’s character mostly following her orders out of respect for her position though occasionally breaking rank at times where, hey, he’s not going to let anything happen to his kid, rules be damned.

Rounding out the cast is JK Simmons as Pratt’s estranged father, who is given a chance to redeem himself in the fight.

Overall, it’s a good movie that somehow survived Amazon’s design a film by committee so as to appeal to everyone and not offend anyone strategy and if theaters were open to full strength, it would have been enjoyable to watch this on the big screen with surround sound. As with many action sci-fi films, a lot of suspension of disbelief is required and there are dumb moments, but hey, it’s got guns and aliens, so it’s worth a watch.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but I still haven’t forgiven Amazon for muzzling Eddie.

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Movie Review – Passengers (2016)

J-Law!  Chris Pratt!  Chris Pratt’s gratuitous ass! (I swear it did nothing for me).

BQB here with a review of Passengers.

So, 3.5 readers, do you know how technology rarely works?

I mean, it works great for a little while but sooner or later it breaks down, develops a bug, has something go wrong with it and after you exhaust yourself with tech support and trying everything you can think of to fix it, you eventually pull your hair out and give up, resigning yourself to the fact that you’ll have to just live with a shitty piece of equipment until you can afford to buy a new one which…will eventually break down?

As it turns out, technology isn’t that much different in the future.  Unlike the sleek, always operational ships in Star Trek, the Homestead Corporation’s ship totally sucks.

Five-thousand passengers are suspended in hyper sleep for a hundred and twenty year trip to a new planet, Homestead II.

Unfortunately, technology sucks in the future just as it does now, as Jim Preston (Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) wake up way too early with ninety years left before they reach their new home world.

In other words, they’re stuck in a ship for life, with no way to fulfill their dreams, doomed to wander the craft’s metal halls, perpetually bored forever with all of their plans out the window.

I must admit, I didn’t expect much out of this film going into it so I was pleasantly surprised by its awesomeness.  Even though there are only two characters (four if you count Michael Sheen as Arthur the bartending Android and Laurence Fishburne as someone but I can’t tell you who yet), there are plenty of epic twists and turns as well as some fabulous special effects.

As I sat there watching it, I thought to myself, “Yeah!  My laptop, TV, and cell phone all worked for about five minutes after I took them out of the box so I could totally see my sleep pod malfunctioning and leaving me to live out my life on a ship!”

See?  Technology sucks, even in the future.

Hyper sleep has long been a staple of sci-fi space travel films.  Interstellar, for example, opened our eyes to the concept that theoretically, it would be possible for a space craft to make it out into deep space as long as there is a way to preserve the human travelers, otherwise they’d live out their lives and die in transit so what’s the point?

But this is the first film (that I know of) to utilize hyper sleep as a big plot device.  While there are moments of comedy as Pratt and J-Law plead for help from pre-programmed, bureaucratic robots who assure them that it is impossible for them to be awake, the film is also a drama, a love story, and a suspense thriller all rolled into one.

Faulty technology, incompetent tech support help and a corporation that doesn’t plan for things going wrong?  Yeah, this film may be set in the future, but it does feel like life in 2016.  Somehow, it seems more plausible than Star Trek.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth seeing on the big screen.  Excellent date movie.  Women, stop looking at Chris Pratt’s ass.  Chris Pratt, stop showing everyone your ass.  I bet no one even asked you to show it, you were all just like, “I’m gonna let my cheeks flap in the breeze!”

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Movie Review – Jurassic World (2015)

Dun dun…dun dun!  Da da dun da dun dun dun!

That was me trying to type the Jurassic Park/World theme song.

Nevermind.  OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING.

To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s line from the original film, this franchise, like life, keeps finding a way.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of this summer’s blockbuster dino-fest Jurassic World.

Movie Trailer – Jurassic World – Universal Pictures

Do you remember Jurassic Park?  I do.  As a kid, I spazzed out over the movie’s sheer awesomeness.  In fact, that flick was the first to use CGI on a massive scale to bring dinosaurs to life, thus ushering in an era of computer generated monsters, beasts and assorted bad guys.

In short, it blew peoples’ minds, mine included.  The best description I can give is for me, seeing Jurassic Park was probably a lot like how young people felt when they saw Star Wars in 1977.

The only downside?  Are we at the peak of what special effects can do?  Are we spoiled now?  Are we used to CGI?  Will someone ever figure out some other awesome thing to do in a movie that will knock our socks off, leaving a new generation of kids’ jaws to drop the way mine did when I saw the first film in this series?

Time will tell, but a movie growing public that’s grown used to the wonders of CGI reminds me of the line uttered by Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady – “Aren’t dinosaurs enough?”

He asks that in response to Bryce Howard’s Claire, the administrator of the new Jurassic World theme park, who notes that every few years a new and even more fearsome dinosaur has to be created to keep the public’s attention.

Sorry Owen.  In theory, you’re right.  Dinosaurs should be enough and so should a steady diet of CGI effects dished out by Hollywood over the past twenty plus years.

But it never is.  Once the “wow factor” dissipates, whatever wowed us becomes yesterday’s news and we’re left wanting something bigger and better.

Here, we find it in the form of the Indominus Rex, the super dinosaur engineered to bring tourists to the park but alas, and perhaps as can be expected in these movies, he escapes, thus giving Owen a Claire a run for their money.

Owen is a dinosaur handler on the island working on a project to train raptors to work with humans.  The raptors were arguably scarier than the T-Rex in the first film.  Sure, the T-Rex might stomp or chomp you but the highly intelligent raptors will haunt you in a pack and find you wherever you’re hiding.

Raptors as the good guys in this film?  Say it ‘aint so!

There’s plenty of homages to the original film.  There’s a nerd with a soda cup and a messy work station ala Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight who went on to become Jerry Seinfeld’s arch enemy Newman).  Claire’s nephews (the children in peril in this film) find a long discarded goggle hat similar to the one Tim wore when he and his sister Lex where the children in peril in the original.  Mr. DNA makes a cameo.  And of course, there’s a statue of John Hammond.

I don’t want to give much more away but suffice to say, it lives up to the hype and since the original, it is the first sequel to do Michael Crichton’s vision justice.

Sadly, we lost Crichton in 2008, but his books and the movies based on them live on.  After watching Jurassic Park, I ran out and got a copy of the book and I remember being inspired by a man who didn’t make his way into the entertainment industry through the usual route (i.e. I’ll jaunt off to Hollywood and see what happens!) but rather as a doctor who took his scientific/medical knowledge and used it to churn out stories that kept us in suspense.

Chris Pratt continues to inspire nerds everywhere.  Honestly, when you first started watching Parks and Recreation, did you think the guy playing Andy would ever find himself as a summer blockbuster leading man two years in a row?  He’s not that cookie cutter, exceptionally handsome dude that looks like he got yanked off the Hollywood assembly line that we’ve grown used to.  Rather, he kind of looks like a guy we’d want to have a beer with after the movie.

Bryce plays the bean counting administrator well, obsessed with work and dollars only to realize the gravity of the situation when the Indominus goes for a stroll.

Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong of Law and Order fame), was in the first film and he reprises his role here.  SPOILER ALERT – he runs of with some dino DNA, thus leaving this reviewer to speculate that the door is opened for yet another sequel.

It’ll have to be awesome, because apparently, the average, run of the mill dinosaur just isn’t good enough anymore.

STATUS:  Shelf Worthy

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