Monday, July 6, 2015

Moonlight Movie Reviews - Terminator Genisys, Inside Out, and a few classics at the Drafthouse (Part 1)

Time for more "so late they're practically pointless" movie reviews!

Incidentally, I've considered doing video reviews in my car with whomever I'm with immediately after seeing films. Do you guys think that would just come off like too much of a Cinema Snob ripoff? It's just that it would definitely be more timely and authentic. Having to write them usually means I end up posting super late like this. I saw "Inside Out" on opening night, and I'm barely gonna talk about it! Well, let me know on that. First though, I'm gonna talk about the new Terminator, which I saw the night before it's release date. Yeah, late on this one too, but I had a good reason that night that I'll keep to myself. My sister had a lot to say about this one though, and we talked about it in the car at length. She's a pretty huge fan of the first two films (though mainly of the original Kyle Reese). And, yeah, if you are somewhat new, in real life I have two sisters (I'm the middle child), one of which I'm roommates with, but in the Moonlight Motel comic strip, I don't have siblings. It just makes more sense with the inheritance setup that will get explained more in our first graphic novel, but I digress...  On to the movies!

Yep, saw the new Terminator last Thursday. Nope, I did not see the previous one. How many have there been? I saw the first three, I know that. Enjoyed them all, but my fave is the original. I saw this at the Alamo Drafthouse, of course, Lakeline in this case. Got to try some of their Caesar Salad with added chicken, and man, it was good. Didn't order it, but finished my sister's. I've been broke for two weeks cause of rent. It's really hurting my self esteem... and my stomach... I need to make more money. Sally Struthers, help me! Oh, um, here are some Drafthouse preshow samplings. Funny stuff!

Ha ha, good stuff. Especially that last one.
That was like a workout show or something!
Now, on to the serious business...

That's the new Sarah Connor, who's actually supposed to be the old Sarah Connor, as this is one of those sequel/remake/retcon type things. It's also the girl from Game of Thrones, and I call her that because I don't watch Game of Thrones, I watch Once Upon a Time. Wanna fight about it? I also watch Walking Dead, so shut the hell up. Anyway, having seen this, I'm officially ready to dive into Game of Thrones. This Sarah Connor is mad hot!

Anywho, as I mentioned, this is a sequel/remake/retcon kinda deal, much like the new Star Trek flicks (can they pull that sort of thing off WITHOUT time travel?), and honestly, I prefer that to a straight up remake. Call it a new timeline, a parallel dimension, or anything that loosely connects it to the originals and keeps them somehow alive within the current franchise. That's if you absolutely suck at making straight up sequels. This franchise, however, was all about time travel, so it was perfect for this sorta thing. The original film was about a killer robot called a Terminator that was sent from the future by the machines that had taken over the world to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the future resistance leader, John Connor. To protect her, John sent his best friend and soldier, Kyle Reese, who turns out to be John's father in one of those time travel paradoxes that makes zero sense logically. This time around, the machines are ahead of the game, and we get to see a total rehash of the beginning of that first film, this time with more robots popping up left and right! Then, we get to the twist. Things have changed, and Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), is not the same person, because the past has been changed, and this Sarah Connor has been raised most of her life by a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenneger) she calls Pops. Also, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is way more ripped and pretty (oy, typical; yeah, Sarah's hot, but she also has a good resemblance to the original, just in a modern and much hotter way). Anyway, the main baddie of the film soon turns up, and the big twist (not really a spoiler, but a twist) is that it's John Connor (Jason Clarke, Kyle and Sarah's son from the future, who has been transformed by the machines through some new nanotechnology they use in this one. The whole bunch meets up 2017, where the goal is, of course, to prevent Skynet from taking over the world!

"Terminator: Genisys" is nonstop sci-fi action, amazing effects, great nostalgia, and foxy stars. So why am I hearing that it's a flop? Well, I don't really know, because I enjoyed this one a lot. It's not perfect, but I enjoyed it a lot. Would I have enjoyed it less if Sarah Connor had been cast differently, probably, but I think I still would have at least liked it. The plot may not be the most original thing in the world, but this was hardly about the plot, it was about the action and effects (aaannd the nostalgia), and making John Connor the villain, ya gotta admit, was pretty clever.

Probably the biggest complaint about the film that I've heard is over the lack of chemistry between Sarah and Kyle, and a general dislike of the Kyle casting. It's tree, the pair doesn't have the best chemistry. But, honestly, I've seen waaay worse. I didn't find it flat out unbelievable. The way they commit to each other in the end is a bit over the top, particularly on Sarah's part, as you really don't get a sense that they've completely fallen in love or anything. It's true, this Kyle is not the actor Michael Biehn was in the first film, who totally made it believable (with Linda Hamilton's help), but seriously, he's not that terrible and I think a lot of the problem is similar to what makes 70's and 80's horror films work so well over current ones. You can use good looking people as your leads, but if they look like underwear models, it loses some of the believability. As for anything else bad about the film, the only other thing that bothered me, personally, was the whole thing about who gave Kyle Reese the info to go to 2017, which came to him as a childhood memory. In the end, they imply he did it himself, but, again, this paradox makes no sense, and in an even more annoying way than the whole thing about being John's dad. Oh, and who sent the guardian Terminator to take care of Sarah Connor! This is never explained that I can remember. I suppose that was being saved for a future installment though... I wonder if that will still happen, since this film could potentially not turn a profit, which I still say is a shame.

So, some folks were really bugged by the whole Kyle Reese thing; the casting, the romance, etc..., but I was okay with it, even if it wasn't the best. I mean, it wasn't enough to ruin the movie for me. The effects were awesome (the young Arnold in the beginning, that was AMAZING!), Schwarzenegger was just fantastic, and the pops aspect of the story was really funny and sweet, and it added a lot for me. Oh, and J.K. Simmons is in this! And he was awesome, as usual! I didn't have any issues with Jason Clarke, though some felt he was miscast, and I'm not sure why (except that he doesn't look like Christian Bale, ha). Matt Smith plays a repeatedly brief but crucial role as well, but the presence of a doctor (as a villain, no-less) does seem to disturb Whovians.

Whoa, I just remembered there was a Terminator TV series with (yowza) Summer Glau. I wonder if that's part of the film's continuity or what. I wonder if it's any good or even still on! Anyway, as for Genisys,  I do very much recommend this one if you like the franchise and dig nonstop action. No, it's not as excellent a film as the original by any means. It's a popcorn action/sci-fi film that is a great addition to the franchise though, and just a fun time at the movies. Check it out!

And I'll be back in a little bit with part two, featuring Inside Out (and Lava)!

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