The Titan Review

The Titan
Directed by: Lennart Ruff
Written by Max Hurwitz (screenplay), Arash Amel (story)
Starring: Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel

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Nine years after Avatar introduced him to the world, Sam Worthington dons an armor of blue-tinted prosthetics and, once again, turns into an enhanced lifeform. No, the first of those James Cameron’s sequels hasn’t arrived early (it’s still two years away) but The Titan should quench that particular thirst if you are currently experiencing it.

Set thirty years in the future with the Earth on the brink of certain and complete annihilation, the story details how NATO-sanctioned scientists in conjunction with NASA come up with the wildly risky proposition of administering the DNA of certain specific animals to an elite selection of military personnel. The goal is to mutate them and make them superhuman, capable of tolerating the extremely uninhabitable weather and oxygen-lacking conditions of the only moon with a thick atmosphere in our solar system. You see, they want to morph these volunteers into Titans (as in the deities of Greek mythology) and send them off to colonize Titan (Saturn’s largest moon). Things go south, obviously.

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Game Over, Man! Review

Game Over, Man!
Directed by: Kyle Newacheck
Written by: Anders Holm (screenplay), Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck, Adam Devine, Blake Anderson (story)
Starring: Adam Devine, Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, Daniel Stern, Neal McDonough, Rhona Mitra, Chloe Bridges, Andrew Bachelor

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When Game Over, Man!‘s credit sequence starts and Adam Devine, Anders Holm and Blake Anderson walk down the hallway of the hotel where they work as room-cleaning staff straight towards the camera in slow motion as New Level by A$AP Ferg (Feat. Future) blares on the soundtrack, you probably feel entitled to assume you already know the kind of movie you are about to watch. And that is almost the case, only worse.

This may be a Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg production (their first foray into Netflix’s new age of Content) but it becomes immediately apparent that it wants to move, talk and feel like a vintage Todd Phillips film (anything pre-Hangover, before he started filming demo reels to convince studios he can direct action blockbusters). Whether that’s good news or bad news is entirely up to you.

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Pacific Rim: Uprising Review

Pacific Rim: Uprising
Directed by: Steven S. DeKnight
Written by: Steven S. DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, T.S. Nowlin (screenplay), Travis Beacham (characters)
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Tian Jing, Jin Zhang, Rinko Kikuchi

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When Pacific Rim opened almost five years ago the knee-jerk reaction from just about any moviegoer worth their salt was that we were being treated to nothing but a Transformers knock-off. There was also a dash of Godzilla thrown into the mix to at least try to set it apart and protect its future home video life… not that The Asylum’s Atlantic Rim wasn’t going to attempt to derail it, mind you.

However, general audiences’s lukewarm response notwithstanding, what Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro delivered with their original screenplay (if it can even be called original in the existing movie landscape) and the latter’s direction was their straightforward but lovingly reverential take on both Mecha and Kaiju. It became immediately apparent if you looked beyond the mere facade that with its exquisitely designed production, cleverly staged action sequences (marred only by the movie’s insistence on shooting almost all of them at night), Ramin Djawadi’s score, willing cast, and coherent, meaningful storytelling, the movie offered everything the Transformers franchise didn’t. That’s why Pacific Rim: Uprising is so disappointing: because it reinforces expectations most people may have had of the original. It is a bad movie.

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Tomb Raider Review

Tomb Raider
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Written by: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons (screenplay), Evan Daugherty and
Geneva Robertson-Dworet (story)
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas

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In movies, as in life, the game people play is one of expectations and, in the case of the latest entry in the Lara Croft franchise, expectations are bound to end up in disappointment. Disappointment for those expecting an effort in the same vein as Angelina Jolie’s original outings, for those at the other end of the spectrum who wanted an intellectually stimulating reinvention, and for those longing for nothing more than a standard studio tentpole. Norweigian director Roar Uthaug’s latest bona fide blockbuster-wannabe following his disaster epic Bolgen (The Wave) is none of those. Yet, these are the same exact reasons why those who have gone into theaters devoid of such baggage may find it unexpectedly, thankfully satisfying.

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