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Jupiter Ascending

An American-Australian science fiction / fantasy flick, Jupiter Ascending is a 2015 movie written, produced, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. The film stars Channing Tattum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Terry Gilliam & Maria Doyle Kennedy.

The movie has this premise that over a billion years ago a race of humans first evolved in another solar system (or is it another galaxy?) and as they advanced technologically they became transhumans and established colonies around the galaxy. They seeded humans on earth and other planets for the purpose of later “harvesting” the resulting organisms to produce a type of youth serum for the elites on still other planets. Hence these transhumans live for many, many thousands of years. After the death of the matriarch of the House of Abrasax, the most powerful of the alien dynasties, her children, Balem, Kalique, and Titus, quarrel over the inheritance, with Balem inheriting an enormous refinery on Jupiter and Titus declaring his intention to dismantle the youth serum trade, of which Earth is the next intended source.

Meanwhile on Earth, a young woman named Jupiter (named by her Russian immigrant mother after her husband’s wish and to honour him after he was killed by thieves) Jones, is living out a dull life cleaning people’s houses with her mother and aunts in Chicago, staying in a house with her mother’s relatives. To buy a telescope (a passion she shared with the father she never knew), Jupiter agrees to sell her eggs with the help of her cousin Vladie (Kick Gurry), under the name of her friend Katharine Dunlevy. One night at Katharine’s house, the girls are attacked by extraterrestrial ‘Keepers'; and when Jupiter photographs these, they erase her memory of the incident. Later at the clinic for donating the eggs, the doctors and nurses are identified as Balem’s agents, sent to kill her, and she is saved by Caine Wise, a former soldier sent by Titus. Caine takes her to Stinge Apini, a veteran soldier and former comrade of his, who was banished and has been now living on earth with his young daughter. While at the latter’s house, we learn that Jupiter is part of this alien royalty and Stinger explains to her about the origins of humanity on earth.

A group of hunters attack the house and take Jupiter to Kalique’s palace on a distant planet, where Kalique explains that Jupiter is genetically identical to the dead matriarch, and therefore the Earth’s rightful owner. Supported by Captain Diomika Tsing , part of an intergalactic police force, Caine retrieves her from Kalique, and brings her to the planet Ores (the intergalactic capital city) to claim her inheritance. On the way back to Earth, Titus detains Jupiter and Caine, to whom he reveals his plan to marry and then kill Jupiter and claim Earth before throwing Caine into the void; but Caine survives and saves Jupiter at the altar. Jupiter asks to return home, but learns that her family has been taken hostage by Balem.

At Balem’s refinery, hidden behind the Red Spot on the plant Jupiter, he demands earth in exchange for Jupiter’s family. Jupiter decides not to hand over earth for her family as Balem would need her permission to harvest the humans on her planet. Balem tries to kill Jupiter; but she defeats him in a fight, and is rescued by Caine, Stinger, and Tsing. Jupiter’s family is returned home with no memory of their disappearance, while Jupiter secretly retains ownership of the Earth. Her family buys her the telescope she wanted and Caine receives a pair of wings earlier removed from his body.

Ok, visually – stunning. Conceptually – maybe somewhat original. The finished product – a mess. You don’t really feel connected to the characters or the lazy story and the writing. Humanoids that are part dinosaur, deer and canine? Ok! A couple of hairstyles that made me laugh out loud. Spaceships are awesome, effects are great, sound awesome etc etc. But still just barely ok. I was actually bored in between because Tattum and Mila Kunis seem like a dull couple. 7 outta 10!

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May Not Watch

Since the last time I posted about this topic, my list has changed slightly. This is my current list of popular, and in my opinion for some of them atleast, at times overhyped tv shows / movie series that I have not yet watched.

  • Lost
  • Harry Potter (movie & books series)
  • Twilight (I will never watch them)
  • The Wire
  • Mad Men
  • Dr. Who
  • Transformers
  • Breaking Bad (I plan on watching them sometime)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Hunger Games (will be watching them)
  • The Fast & The Furious (no interest)

I know a lot of folks, including friends, who are fans of these show and have tried to convert me but it’s not working. Yes, I changed my mind about Hunger Games as I am curious and Breaking Bad I was interested in but the others? I don’t think so.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

One of the most iconic movies of the 80s and famed for it’s setting in which cartoons interact with live action humans, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a 1988 comedy live action/animated film directed by Robert Zemeckis with a screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman based on Gary K. Wolf’s 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? The movie stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd & Joanna Cassidy with Charles Fleischer as the eponymous character’s voice; & Kathleen Turner as the voice of Jessica Rabbit, Roger’s cartoon wife.

The film is set in 1947 Hollywood or Los Angeles, in a world where toons and people co-exist together and the toons act out cartoons in much the same way that human actors act in films/tv shows. Roger Rabbit is a fun loving rabbit toon one of the stars of Maroon Cartoon studios, owned by R. K. Maroon. Maroon hires private detective Eddie Valiant to investigate rumors that Jessica is having an extramarital affair. Eddie and his brother Teddy used to be friends of the toon community, but Eddie has hated them, and has been drinking heavily, since Teddy was killed by a toon who dropped a piano on his head some years earlier while investigating a Toontown bank robbery. Eddie sees Jessica, a voluptuously drawn cartoon in the shape of a woman, playing “patty-cake” with Marvin Acme, the practical joke-loving owner of Toontown and the Acme Corporation. When Roger sees the photos that Eddie took he is devastated and runs away. The next day Acme is found murdered and Roger is the prime suspect.

At the crime scene, Eddie meets Judge Doom and his Toon Patrol of weasel henchmen. Although toons are virtually impervious to physical harm, Doom has discovered that they can be killed by being submerged in a mixture of Turpentine, Acetone, and Benzene that he refers to as the “Dip”. He demonstrates it by sampling an innocent cartoon shoe which quickly dissolves in the dip leaving red paint. Eddie is shocked and goes back to his office where he finds Roger sleeping in his bed and pleads his innocence. Eddie investigates the case with help from his girlfriend Dolores as he finds out that Acme’s will is missing; in it he was to bequeath Toontown to the toons. If the will is not found by midnight, Toontown will be sold to Cloverleaf Industries, which recently bought the Pacific Electric system of trolley cars. essica tells Eddie that Maroon blackmailed her into compromising Acme, and Eddie learns that Maroon is selling his studio to Cloverleaf.

Maroon explains to Eddie that Cloverleaf will not buy his studio unless they can also buy Acme’s gag-making factory. His plan was to use the photos to blackmail Acme into selling. Before he can say more, he is killed by an unseen assassin and Eddie sees Jessica fleeing the scene. Thinking that she is the killer, Eddie pursues her into Toontown. When he finds her, she explains that Doom killed Maroon and Acme in an attempt to take over Toontown. Eddie, Jessica, and Roger are captured by Doom and his weasels and held at the Acme Factory and after a long fight – and a dance by Eddie which makes the weasels die of laughter – and in which it is revealed that Doom is a toon wearing a human mask, Doom is killed when he dissolves in the Dip. The will is found (Roger had written a love letter to Jessica on it and the actual will is in disappearing ink and the Toons celebrate their victory.

Funny and ground breaking, it is a must see for movie aficionados and lovers of awesome 80s humour. Jessica is still a sight to behold even in this day and age! 8.5 outta 10!

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8mm

Directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker, 8mm is a crime-thriller mystery style movie from 1999 starring Nicholas Cage along with Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, & Catherine Keener. A younger Norman Reedus has a small role as well. The movie dwells into the world of snuff films and the shady part of adult films.

Tom Welles is a private investigator, who having just wrapped up a case in Florida is contacted by Daniel Longdale, attorney for wealthy widow Mrs. Christian, whose millionaire husband has recently died. Tom was highly recommended and Mrs. Christian urges him to discretion. Apparently while cleaning out her husband’s private safe she came across an 8mm film in which a young girl is brutally treated and a man in a mask appears to kill her. The widow wants Tom to find out if the murder is real, which he agrees to after sitting through the disturbing film. Tom says good bye to his wife and baby, and heads to Cleavland to start the investigation of missing persons. Eventually he finds that the girl’s name was Mary Ann Mathews and he contacts her mother Janet. While searching the house with her permission, he finds Mary Ann’s diary, in which she says that she went to Hollywood to become a film star.

Tom next heads to Los Angeles and searched stores that sell S&M, Bondage and hardcore porn magazines and films. He meets and enlists the help of a sex shop employee and former musician named Max California to penetrate the underworld of illegal pornography. This leads them to find out that the masked man, named “Machine” who is a frequent performer for noted director Dino Velvet’s violent pornographic films. This leads them to talent scout Eddie Poole and after tapping his phone Tom has him agree to arrange a meet with Velvet, pretending to be a client interested in commissioning a hardcore bondage film to be directed by Velvet and starring Machine. Velvet agrees and arranges a meeting in New York City. All this while it is shown that someone is following and tracking Tom’s movements. Tom does not want Max to continue with him fearing that the events that follow will be dangerous and gives him a ticket to go back to LA. At the meet Tom finds attorney Longdale there who explains that Mr. Christian had contracted him to procure a snuff film – confirming that the snuff film was real and that Mary Ann is dead.

Longdale had contacted Velvet informing him that Tom might come looking for him and Eddie & Velvet drag a bound and beaten Max. They force Tom to bring them the only surviving copy of the illegal film. He delivers it, but before he turns it over, they kill Max and beat Tom and then burn the film. Before they can kill him Tom tells Velvet that Christian had paid $1 million for the film but as Longdale had only handed over a lesser amount for the film, Dino thinks that Longdale cheated him outta his proper fee. Velvet and Eddie corner Longdale and in the ensuing argument both Velvet and Longdale are both killed while Tom wounds Machine and escapes. Tom warns his wife to get out of the house and stay in a motel and he goes to see Mrs. Christian after calling her ahead of going there and telling her the details. After meeting his wife Tom goes to see the widow but finds that she committed suicide and has left him a large sum of money as well as some for Janet Mathews. Tom decides to take matters in his own hands and tracks Eddie, taking him to the run down shack where Mary Ann was killed.

Finding Eddie with no remorse for the murder of a young girl, Tom is unable to bring himself to kill him at first but he calls Janet and tells her the truth about her daughter’s fate and asks a devastated Janet for her permission to punish those responsible, to which she says yes. He then kills and burns Eddie’s body along with the shack and also throws out all the porn stuff he found during the investigation. He then tracks Machine at his home and finds behind the mask a balding, respectable man and is surprised at how ordinary he looks. Machine asks if Tom expected some kind of monster and attacks Tom, telling him that has no ulterior motive for his sadistic actions; he does them simply because he enjoys it. They struggle, and Tom kills him. After returning to his family, Tom receives a letter from Mrs. Mathews, thanking him for killing the men responsible and suggesting he and she were the only ones to care about Mary Ann.

Quite brutal in places but I was expecting a lot more. It definitely shows the sleazy, grimy side of the adult industry and how filthy people can be. I dunno why I waited so long to watch this film. 8 outta 10!

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Scary Books & Films

Do You Like Scary Movies and Books?

Hell yeah! Have you not seen my past blog posts where I do reviews of horror flicks? Though I must say that this year, with the new job, I haven’t had much chance to watch many movies lately and hence I think I have only seen one horror movie so far in 2015. Yeah but in the summer, now that a lot of the shows that I watch are winding up their seasons, I will have more time to watch movies.

As for books, sure I love to read them but you know what? In the past few years I have stopped reading books as I find that I am engrossed in stuff like Youtube and Facebook and Twitter and find reading a lot more tedious and hence can’t finish a book. It is a bit annoying that I can’t concentrate and commit to finishing a book in a week or two whereas I used to devour books at rates of like 3 in a week up till 2008. The internet is too much of a distraction I tell ya!

I think I need to set aside a week or so, get some of my vacation time and find a quite place to lay low for a few days and read a few books. I miss books.

Prompt from The Learning Network from The New York Times

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RIP Grace Lee Whitney

Grace Lee Whitney, 85, most famous for portraying Yeoman Janice Rand on the original series of “Star Trek,” died this weekend in the town of Coarsegold, California, her family confirmed. No cause of death was reported. Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.

Whitney was born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1930, and was raised by an adoptive family. After several years as a dancer with big bands, she was cast as Janice Rand, a Star Fleet yeoman who was personal assistant to William Shatner’s Capt. James T. Kirk, in the first season of the original 1966-to-1969 run of “Star Trek.” When the series was reborn as a movie franchise in 1979, Whitney returned, now promoted to chief petty officer, in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” She appeared again in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), with another promotion, as Lieutenant (JG) Janice Rand. Five years later, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the franchise, she returned to Star Trek in 1996 in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Flashback” along with George Takei. She has filmed roles in two Internet Star Trek episodes: “Star Trek: New Voyages” and “Star Trek: Of Gods and Men” (reprising her role as Janice Rand in both). “New Voyages” premiered on August 24, 2007. “Of Gods and Men” made its debut in late 2007.

For other roles she was in the movies Top Banana (1954), Some Like It Hot (1959) and was credited as Tracey Phillips in the 1962 drama A Public Affair, and as Texas Rose in the western The Man from Galveston (1963) with Jeffrey Hunter. Billy Wilder then gave her the featured role of “Kiki the Cossack” in the 1963 film Irma la Douce with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In the 1960s and 1970s, Whitney sang with a number of orchestras and bands, including the Keith Williams Orchestra. Later, she concentrated on jazz/pop vocalizing while fronting for the band Star. In the 1970s, with her then-husband, Jack Dale, she wrote a number of Star Trek-related songs

Grace Lee Whitney (born Mary Ann Chase; April 1, 1930 – May 1, 2015)

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a 2014 epic fantasy adventure film, directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro. It is the third and final installment in the three-part film adaptation based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, following An Unexpected Journey (2012) and The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and together they act as a prequel to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Stott and James Nesbitt. It also features Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving and Orlando Bloom.

  • The movie starts off where the last movie ends off; Bilbo and the Dwarves watch from the Lonely Mountain as the dragon Smaug attacks Laketown. Bard the Bowman manages to break out of prison, fights Smaug, and eventually kills him with the black arrow given to him by his son Bain. With the death of the Master of Laketown, Bard becomes the new leader of the Laketown people as they seek refuge in the ruins of Dale, while Legolas travels to investigate Mount Gundabad with Tauriel. Thorin, now struck with “dragon sickness”, searches obsessively for the Arkenstone, which was stolen by Bilbo, during his encounter with Smaug. Bilbo learns from Balin that it would be best if the Arkenstone remains hidden from Thorin, who orders the entrance of the Lonely Mountain to be sealed off.
  • Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman arrive at Dol Guldur and free Gandalf, sending him to safety with Radagast. After battling and defeating the Nazgûl, Sauron himself confronts the group, but Galadriel uses the Light of Eärendil and banishes Sauron and the Ringwraiths to the East. Azog, marching on Erebor with his vast Orc army, sends Bolg to Gundabad to summon their second army. Legolas and Tauriel witness the march of Bolg’s army, bolstered by Goblins and giant bats. At Dale Thranduil arrives with an elf army, supplies and aid, and forms an alliance with Bard, wishing to claim an elven necklace of white gems from the Mountain. Bard attempts to negotiate and reason with Thorin to avoid war, but the dwarf refuses to cooperate. After Gandalf arrives at Dale to warn Bard and Thranduil of the Orc army who will take Erebor as part of a campaign to revive the kingdom of Angmar, Bilbo sneaks out of Erebor to hand the Arkenstone over to Thranduil and Bard. When Bard and Thranduil’s armies gather at the gates of Erebor, offering to trade the Arkenstone for Thranduil’s gems and Laketown’s share of the gold, Thorin is shocked to learn of the Arkenstone in the Elves’ hands and he nearly kills Bilbo in a furious rage.
  • After Gandalf forces Thorin to release Bilbo, the arrival of Thorin’s cousin Dáin with his Dwarf army worsens matters. A battle of Dwarves against Elves and Men is imminent, when Wereworms emerge from the ground releasing Azog’s army from their tunnels. With the Orcs outnumbering Dain’s army, Thranduil and Bard’s forces, along with Gandalf and Bilbo, join the battle as some of the Orcs attack Dale. Inside Erebor, initially refusing to fight, Thorin suffers a hallucination before regaining his sanity and leading his company into battle. While the other dwarves of the company aid Dain’s forces, Thorin rides towards Ravenhill with Dwalin, Fili and Kili to kill Azog and force the Orc army to retreat. Meanwhile, after being banished by Thranduil, despite her and Legolas warning him of Bolg’s army, Tauriel leaves with Legolas to warn the dwarves of Bolg’s approaching army, with Bilbo following them using the One Ring.
  • Thorin sends Fíli and Kíli to scout, not knowing they are about to be overrun by a second army of Gundabad Orcs. Bilbo and the elves arrive too late as Fíli is captured by the Orcs and is executed by Azog. Kíli, who is hiding underneath the cliff, sees his brother’s body dropping down and battles Orcs in a rage. Thorin battles Azog to avenge Fili’s death, Bolg knocks Bilbo unconscious, overpowers Tauriel and then kills Kili who had come to her aid. After Legolas kills Bolg, the Great Eagles arrive with Radagast and Beorn, and the Orc armies are finally destroyed. As Bilbo regains consciousness he finds a dying Thorin, having killed Azog, and makes peace with him before the latter dies. On Thranduil’s suggestion, Legolas leaves to meet with a young Dunedain ranger going by the name Strider. As Tauriel mourns Kili, Thranduil tells her that her love for Kili was real. Grieved by the deaths of Thorin, Fili, and Kili, the people of Laketown, the elves, and the dwarves bury them inside the tombs of Erebor.
  • As a result, Thorin’s cousin Dain is crowned King Under the Mountain, the citizens of Laketown are given the riches promised to them by Thorin, and Dain restores to the elves the white elven gems that King Thror had stolen from them years ago. Following these events, Bilbo bids farewell to the remaining members of Thorin’s company and journeys home to the Shire with Gandalf. As the two part on the outskirts of the Shire, Gandalf admits his knowledge of Bilbo’s ring and cautions him against using it. Bilbo returns to Bag End to find his belongings being auctioned off by relatives’ family because he was presumed dead. He aborts the sale and tells the other hobbits to leave but finds his home has been almost totally pillaged. Sixty years later, Bilbo receives a visit from Gandalf and runs out to greet him, thus setting in motion the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.

A visual treat with some amazing large scale fight scenes but it is less interesting and entertaining than the previous two movies. The movie grossed a worldwide total of $955.1 million. 8.5 outta 10!

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Unboxing The Akira Class USS Thunderchild

And up next is the Akira class USS Thunderchild NCC-63549. This is the cannon ship design I like the most. There is one other ship but it’s only been seen on Star Trek Online gaming websight and not in any movie or tv series. Anyways, I love this ship.

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And here is the unboxing video. I have another video coming up which is a closer look at the ship on her stand. Enjoy.

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Package Containing 3 Star Trek Starships

So, after a gap of 20 plus days the box is finally here. Using $50 that I earned doing some paid blogging for a client, I purchased 3 more Star Trek starships from the Official Star Trek Collection done by Eaglemoss. After spending over 10 days in Indian customs and the post office, yesterday I finally got a receipt from the local postman saying that the package was at the post office but I had to pay Rs.463 as duty tax against it.

Since he came to inform me this just as I was eating lunch and then had to get ready to go for the office, I didn’t go yesterday but went this morning as soon as the post office opened. I went in and paid for the package and took the box back home. Although there was some confusion for them as I had said “parcel” which is a different service and this one had come via Indian Speedpost.

So my name and address cleared the confusion and I was handed over the package and I came back home for an unboxing and taking photos and a video. My internet is a bit slow and hence I can’t upload the video, as it is quite large in size, at the moment. So I will do follow up posts in the coming days.

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Exodus : Gods And Kings

Exodus : Gods And Kings is a 2014 biblically-inspired epic fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott. It was written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley. It is a loose interpretation of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt as led by Moses and related in the Book of Exodus.

Since the story is known to most people who have read the Abrahamic religious myth legends, I’m only going to focus on some points I made on the movie itself:

  • Excellent shot & produced film. The special effects and sets and costumes are so awesome looking. I love epic films and films set in the distance past and this one stylistically was great to look at.
  • I also think that the actors did a fine job. Well chosen in most cases, Ben Kingsley gives the movie a bit of that class, Christian Bale was awesome as Moses as were everyone else. María Valverde (Zipporah) is so beautiful and lovely and she did a fine job, despite the big age gap. Joel Edgerton plays the main antagonist really well, as a jealous and suspicious prince and then grief-stricken king/father who’s son is dead, so well. Only negative is that Sigourney Weaver had such a small role -waste of a talent!
  • The story & writing is weak. You only get a documentary style telling of a tale and are missing the angst, passion and character development. Despite the grand scenes, it lacked excitement and the only time I felt any was during the parting & crashing of the waves. It didn’t feel like an epic saga and this is something I notice is the movies of late – the movies from the the 60s, 70s didn’t have the technology of today but they did the best with what they had and the movies were so much better. Atleast in this genre.
  • Some believers complained about the Biblical inaccuracies; some controversy arose over statements from Ridley Scott that he would be looking to natural causes for the miracles, including drainage from a tsunami for the parting of the Red Sea. According to Scott, the parting of the Red Sea was inspired by a tsunami believed to have been triggered by an underwater earthquake off the Italian coast around 3000 BC. Another critics said that there were fewer than 10 plagues depicted in the movie, the crocodiles were not involved and the Israelites themselves were also affected by the plagues. The movie was banned in a few countries, including Egypt, UAE & Kuwait. I say don’t take things so seriously and get a life!
  • The depiction of Malak, the representation of god, in particular was of interest to me. He sounded like a tantrum throwing brat, helpless to do anything for 400 years and all of a sudden seeks the help of this one man, a displaced Hebrew who didn’t even know he was one for most of his life, to led the chosen people back to their land! Yet he can cause plagues and the parting of the Red Sea? Loved it!

Overall I did like the flick enough to rate it a 7.5 outta 10! I can’t give it any higher as they should have focussed on the characters a bit more rather than the settings and the effects. Still worth a watch.

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The Pyramid

The Pyramid is a 2014 December release and is a horror/supernatural film in the found footage vein but a little more cleaner production than your usual run of the mill stuff. Directed by Grégory Levasseur, produced by Alexandre Aja, and written by Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon the film stars Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O’Hare, James Buckley, Christa Nicola, Amir K and Daniel Amerman.

Drs. Miles & Nora Holden, an American father & daughter archeologist duo are leading an excavation dig 50 kms away from Cairo when they discover a 3 sides pyramid unlike any other seen before in Egypt and much older than the ones in Giza. Along with them are technician Michael Zahir along with documentary director Sunni & her cameraman Fitzie. As they open the apex, a rush of toxic fungal stale air rushes out causing one of the workers to get infected and convulsed. Due to the uprising in 2013 Egypt the team are ordered to evacuate the site by morning an Egyptian army soldier is sent to ensure that they do leave the site. The team however does not want to leave without getting a good look inside the pyramid and send a robot (a miniature version of the Mars rover), Shorty, in to investigate. Shorty is damaged by an unseen creature and the signal is lost, causing Zahir to want to go and fetch it as he could be in trouble with NASA, who he borrowed it from.

As they try and make their way through to the robot, the floor in a chamber collapses and after they fall down to the next level, one of Zahir’s legs is caught underneath a large piece of the ceiling and the other four are unable to move it. Sunni tries to climb up a shaft to the level above but a creatures leaps at her and scratches her face, causing her to fall down. They leave Zahir behind to find another way out, only to hear him scream, and return to find only a bloody trail leading up the wall. The remaining four are chased by what is later revealed to be cannibalistic cats who have lived in the pyramid for generations, eating on the older ones to survive. The soldier rescues them out of a tunnel but is himself pulled back into the tunnel by an unseen and powerful force. The shocked team then escape a sand tunnel only for Sunni to accidentally fall into a spike pit and get impales and have the cats eat at her flesh. Although the other 3 try to rescue her Sunni’s wounds are fatal and she dies. The remaining 3 move on and find a burial chamber and as the speculate about a way out, Miles has his heart torn out from behind but a large hand and is dragged away. Nora & Fitzie hide in another section of the chamber though Fitzie shortly returns to watch through the camera as the large creature – part man, part jackal, weighing Miles’ heart.

As Nora learns from a hieroglyphic, the creature is Anubis, and the pyramid was constructed to imprison him as he became relentless in his pursuit to join his father Osiris in the afterlife. Anubis captured humans and tried to find a pure soul by whom he can escape to the afterlife. Nora & Fitzie find a way out and climb a long shaft to get out of the pyramid but both are caught by Anubis. As Nora comes to she finds Anubis killing Fitzie and about to measure her soul and she manages to free herself by cutting the ropes that bind her using a knife she had with her. She lashes out at Anubis and wounds him, causing the cannibal cats to attack him smelling blood. She makes her way out of the shaft and into a tunnel that leads out via a cave but the fungal infection overcomes her and she passes out at the entrance. As she comes to, a small boy finds her and the camera with her and as he turns around Anubis comes at them and grabs them both as the scene fades to black and the film ends.

Not very original or scary at all but it was an ok watch for the night. Production is decent and there’s less annoying stuff than most horror films but it’s not enough to rescue this film from the tons of horror stuff that pile out the dvd/bluray sections. 6 outta 10!

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The Show Must Go On

If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

But the whole point for me making films would be to create films based on the stories & ideas in my head. I mean, they are so awesome. Ok, I guess I would rather be the director producer than the lead actor in the film. Because then I can use my vision and ideas for what the movie should be like based on the story that I am given to do or I choose even if I cannot be the writer. Besides, I can make the writers write my story based on the ideas I give them right?

If this question was asked to me even 20, 10 or 5 years back I would have said “actor” because I’ve always wanted to be an actor based on the many actors & actresses who have entertained me and made go through the gamut of various emotions throughout the years but as I grew older I like the ideas behind the creation process and the production side of things. And I like movies for what they are even more than the actors and the special effects and stories – I find myself liking more and more independent films and fan based shows and getting more disappointed by huge blockbuster films from the big studios. I’m sure inflated expectations and large sums of money are responsible for the stuff that Hollywood doles out year after year but still – come up with original stuff guys!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Prelude To Axanar

Prelude to Axanar is a 21 minute short fan film that came out online in 2014 (I dunno how come I missed watching it till last night). Funded through Kickstarter, production sought $10,000 in funding, but in gaining $101,000, received more than ten times the amount originally sought. Set in the Star Trek universe, the film stars Kate Vernon, Tony Todd, Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and J. G. Hertzler, in a documentary-style film recounting the events surrounding the Battle of Axanar, a major clash between the Federation and the Klingons. The film’s purpose was to show that high quality ‘Star Trek‘ films can be made on a low budget. The film’s visual effects were done by Tobias Richter and Tommy Kraft, makeup was by Kevin Haney, and sound design was by Frank Serafine.

Shot to look like a documentary, Prelude To Axanar is about the Four Years War with the Klingon Empire, narrated by noted historian John Gill and featuring interviews with the various characters involved in the war. It begins 2 decades before the beginning of Star Trek : The Original Series – the Klingons, who do not see the Federation as worthy opponents in battle, attack and destroy Acranis IV, a prosperous Federation colony along the Klingon border. Under the leadership of their Supreme Commander Kharn, the Klingons continue their attack for 6 months. The Vulcans send a diplomatic delegation led by Ambassador Soval but they have little to no effect. In response to the losses suffered in the war, Starfleet appoints a new Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Marcus Ramirez, who pledges in a fleet-wide broadcast to defend “the dream of the Federation” against the Klingons’ committment to its destruction. Ramirez oversees the construction of the first warship of the Federation, the prototype USS Ares and several others in it’s class, to counter the Klingons’ mainstay, the D6 battle-cruiser.

With the introduction of the formidable Ares, the tides turn decisively towards the side of the Federation and the Klingons now change their minds about the Federation and also come to admire Captain Kelvin Garth, commander of the Ares. They then begin contruction of the D7 battle-cruisers to counteract the threat of the Ares and would restore the Klingons’ technical and military advantage. In response, Starfleet begins developing their own next-generation heavy cruiser, the Constitution-class, but construction falls behind schedule. To gain more time to finish their new heavy cruiser, Starfleet approves a plan proposed by Garth to fight the Klingons at Axanar, the planet where Kharn’s spies have reported the Constitution prototypes (revealed to be the Constitution and the Enterprise) are being built. The film ends on Stardate 2245.1, just before the battle at Axanar, when the first three D7s enter the war.

This short film is so awesome I cannot believe that it is a fan made film. It looks amazing and the acting of the cast is so good and spot on. It looks so much better than anything JJ Abrahms has done with the franchise so far. I am really surprised that I can be so excited about three fan based productions (Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Renegades and this one) that is head & shoulders above the cannon stuff that Paramount is releasing. Raising $650,000 through creation and release of Prelude to Axanar, they are now in pre-production for the feature film Star Trek: Axanar, with production slated to begin in September 2014, and filming expected to commence by December for a 2015 release. Joining the cast will be Garreth Wang.

The Star Trek universe is so vast that even if every studio in the world created their own series or film, it would still just be the tip of the iceberg. May this trend continue. I want more Trek!

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