Category Archives: adam baldwin

Monsters

Monsters ~ When I saw this line of hype in the description of this flick OnDemand, I was intrigued. It read, “Best giant monster movie I’ve seen in years.” I was sold. It’s written and directed by Gareth Edwards, who has been chosen to helm the new American Godzilla movie – so I definitely had to see it.

The story – six years ago a space probe sent to search for alien life crash lands over Mexico. It brought ‘creatures’ and the area was walled off as the “Infected Zone.” Expecting District 9 meets Cloverfield meets Toho’s Monster Island, I happily order it, no matter how high the price.

A magazine photographer is sent to collect the boss’ daughter from Mexico in the Infected Zone. After losing their passports, they have to walk. Yeah, what’s that writing rule about what’s the worst that can happen? Yeah, that’s what happens. They walk home through the Infected Zone.

The two main characters are thankfully not typical horror movie stereotypes, but we get to know them as well as we would such characters – very peripherally. They are still placeholders in the storytelling process, but just different ones. The male lead reminds a lot of a young Adam Baldwin, but that’s neither here nor there. Some of the dialogue is painful, especially most of it falls into the “What are you doing?” and “Where are all the people?” territory.

The cardboardness and predictability of the two leads is what makes the ending so unfulfilling when it comes. I wanted a monster movie with a human story as a backdrop like most traditional kaiju eiga and got was a bad human story with monsters as the backdrop. At least the monsters got one pretty intense love scene. And no, I’m not kidding.

The monsters are rarely seen clearly early on, just in fuzzy pictures and staticky news footage, and later we hear them, but when they do finally show up… hello, pretty scary. They are sorta giant squid meets preying mantis meets Martian war machine with just a bit of Cthulhu thrown into the mix for good measure. The wreckage and destroyed buildings are stunning, as they are not CGI in the traditional sense, but greenscreened in – they are real destroyed buildings from earthquakes, fires, etc., so it looks, and is, very real.

There is not as much commentary on the current US/Mexico immigration problem as one might think from the summary of this flick, but it’s in there. There’s not much, but then again, no one ever says the word ‘apartheid’ in District 9 either and that’s like a brick to the head.

This was a fairly entertaining movie though, for what it is, a little long and I would have loved more monster stuff – but all in all, Monsters did not live up to the hype. Regarding Gareth Edwards’ future with the American Godzilla franchise, I really am at a loss as to what to think. It may well be visually stunning, but I worry about the story… and the love scenes…

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Chuck’s Back


The opening sequence for the second season premiere of NBC’s “Chuck” is so cool that even if I had not been a fan from last season, I would be after seeing this. Straight up spy suspenser with Michael Clarke Duncan (yes, the Kingpin hisself) as the bad guy holding our nerdboy Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) by his tie out the window of a multi-story building. Interesting cinematography that would make Spider-Man’s Sam Raimi blush inclusive, the scene pulls you in and holds you as the succinct synopsis of last season and story of tonight’s episode unfolds.

When I say the word ‘nerd’ about Chuck, I’m not kidding. He likes Huey Lewis’ “Hip to Be Square” (and not in an American Psycho way) and has a Tron poster on his wall. He works for a Best Buy-like store in their Geek Squad-like department – the word ‘nerd’ should be tattooed on his head. Not nerd-bashing here, heck, I’m a nerd, but I’m just setting the premise.

Chuck also happens to be carrying around the combined computer data of the CIA and the NSA in his head, making him very valuable. So with super-spies, one from each agency, Adam Baldwin and Yvonne Strahovski guarding and protecting him, Chuck gets caught up in case after case. As they say, hilarity ensues.

The second season opener of “Chuck,” entitled “Chuck Versus the First Date,” airs tonight at 8 PM EST, right before “Heroes.” And you folks are cool, so I shouldn’t have to tell you you should be watching “Heroes,” right?

The Best Show on Television You’re Not Watching

“Day Break” – Canceled by ABC after too few episodes this has been completed and is available to watch on ABC.com. The exact URL: http://abc.go.com/primetime/daybreak/index.html. Don’t miss it! Day Break is a wonderful suspense-mystery-thriller that breaks down like a cross between Groundhog Day and “24.” Detective Brett Hopper, played by Taye Diggs, has been framed for a murder he didn’t commit. If that’s not exciting enough, he’s living that same day over and over and over again just like our friend Bill Murray, only it’s not funny – it’s deadly serious. There are excellent performances by Adam Baldwin, Moon Bloodgood and Mitch Pileggi as well. Other than maybe “Heroes” and that other canceled show “Kidnapped,” “Day Break” is the best show to come out of last season. A shame it was canceled, but thanks, ABC, for letting us see it through.