Category Archives: roland emerich

2012

2012 ~ A close friend of mine said the other day that she would watch John Cusack read the phone book. I have to wonder if she’s seen this gem…

The real star here is the special effects. It seems like co-writer/director Roland Emmerich just didn’t get to destroy the world enough in Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow (and that’s not even mentioning how he destroyed Godzilla, grrr…) and had CGI effects leftover. That said, this wannabe Irwin Allen has created stunning disaster imagery that is almost worth the price of admission (or rental), if only a story went along with it.

The film’s structure revolves around the solely Western idea that the world will end when the Mayan calendar ends in the year 2012. To me this always seemed absurd. The calendar ended because the guy carving it got tired and just ended it on the last cycle. Remember no keyboards or pencils then, just chisels – it was hard labor. Anyway, the world’s going to end, cue special effects and let your butt get numb.

John Cusack is writer Jackson Curtis (who just happens to have written a book about Mayan ‘prophecy’) who struggles in the midst of the disaster to save his estranged family. The hilarity, and unbelievability factor, ensues from there. I have to wonder however if John had some gambling debts or alimony payments we don’t know about he had to cover with this flick. It certainly couldn’t have been the script that lured him in. Woody Harrelson, on the other hand, is actually quite a hoot as an ersatz Art Bell type radio show host.

The chase scenes will certainly make your heart race, and if only this would have been in IMAX… See it for the effects, and only if you don’t have to pay for it.

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Popcorn Quickies 4-21-2009

10,000 B.C. ~ Ever since Roland Emerich and Dean Devlin ruined Godzilla I have been wary of any Centropolis film. And when I saw previews of 10,000 B.C. my first thought was it was a way of cashing in on some new state of the art special effects and also the flood of prehistoric programming on the Discovery networks. When it finally came around on the cable I took a peek just to see the effects, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a hero’s journey story in the Joseph Campbell vein that follows a primitive man into the world of wannabe gods building pyramids with saber-tooth tigers and wooly mammoths thrown in for good measure – and it’s quite good, or at least tons better than I expected. Worth taking a chance to check out, good adventure fodder.

Live Free or Die Hard ~ When you Google the term ‘popcorn movie’ it should take you right to the movie poster for this flick. If you’ve seen any of the other Die Hard movies, or any Bruce Willis action flick really, there are no real surprises here. Willis knocks a helicopter out of the sky with a car because he’s out of bullets, and it’s got Kevin Smith, really, what more could you ask for? Munch lots of popcorn and call it a night’s entertainment, you’ll be satisfied.

Timecrimes ~ Also known as Los Cronocrimenes is a brilliant but just a tad predictable time travel thriller from independent Oscar-nominated writer/director Nacho Vigalondo. He also acts in this one. It’s slow, and thought-provoking, a different pace from most time travel stories but meticulously planned and not without twists. Stay with it, even when you think you’ve got it figured out – it can be surprising even when you think you’ve got it figured out.

Star Trek: Nemesis ~ The final Trek film before the powers-that-be decided a complete reboot of the franchise is not as bad as I would have thought. The Enterprise crew from the “Next Generation” TV series find themselves caught in the center of a hostile takeover in the Romulan Empire, one masterminded by, as it turns out, a clone of Captain Picard. Hilarity ensues. While there are nice touches and cute nods and nudges throughout, this is really just an action flick in Trek dressings. I can see why hardcore fans were disappointed in what was considered, even then, the final voyage for these characters. Lotsa action and special effects, but it could have so much more, and definitely not as much of a rehash of Wrath of Khan as it seems to be. Recommended if it’s on free TV.

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